Metro mayors from across England have argued that the Tory ‘levelling up’ agenda will not become a reality due to the “Westminster bubble” that means “for far too long, too many decisions have been taken in the interests of London”.
At a session of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee this morning, mayors expressed frustration over excessive centralisation, with Andy Burnham saying that England has “devolution in name but not in reality”.
The Greater Manchester metro mayor said he was left “open-mouthed” as the government today announced more support for Tier 2 businesses despite areas in the North being under such rules and without extra support for months.
Burnham told the committee: “I think maybe if we all think about it positively, perhaps this a moment where England grows up a little around devolution and the relationship between Westminster and the rest of the country.
“The culture is still: Westminster holds all the power and all the money, and the mayors on this call have to go on bended knee and we have to plead at times for some of that money. And I think that’s where this is still wrong.