Greater powers given to cities

Banbury Cake: Nick Clegg says giving greater powers to cities will help create jobs Nick Clegg says giving greater powers to cities will help create jobs

Some of England's largest cities will gain greater powers over their economies and transport under a series of deals with the Government.

The cities believe the agreements will create 175,000 jobs over the next 20 years and 37,000 new apprenticeships.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the deals were a "dramatic power shift", freeing cities from Whitehall control.

The powers granted to the cities vary, but examples include greater freedom to borrow and increased responsibility for regional transport links such as the rail network.

Extra powers for Liverpool and Greater Manchester were agreed earlier and plans for the remaining core cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have now been agreed.

Mr Clegg said: "These groundbreaking deals signal a dramatic power shift, freeing cities from Whitehall control. Everyone in these eight core cities will feel the benefits - from young people looking for jobs to businesses looking to expand. Over the coming months, we are transferring more and more power from Whitehall to these cities.

"They are the economic powerhouses of England - so it makes sense that the cities decide for themselves how to boost their local economies."

In a statement to Parliament, Cities Minister Greg Clark said: "The core cities have estimated that the first wave of deals will create 175,000 jobs over the next 20 years and 37,000 new apprenticeships. If achieved, this would be a significant contribution to our economy - creating opportunities where they are needed most."

Hilary Benn, shadow communities and local government secretary, said: "Labour strongly supports local communities being given more powers - indeed I have been calling for this for some time. These city deals represent an important victory for local people and local government.

"But, if this is the right thing to do for our core cities, then what about the rest of England? What we now need is a clear commitment that local authorities in all parts of England - including other cities, counties and districts - will be given the same opportunity to come together and take back power in the interests of the communities they represent."

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