Berry to Lancashire: ‘Make us an offer’

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has sent a direct message to areas like Lancashire still grappling with devolution declaring,Make us an offer.

The county has so far failed to come up with a solution that would see it gaining control of areas such as transport and skills and the large amounts of cash that go with that.

The Rossendale and Darwen MP has told Lancashire Business View that he would like to see that all change and is keen to stress that there is no “one size fits all” policy when it comes to devolution.

He said: “To communities, not just in Lancashire and Cumbria but across the Northern Powerhouse, I say this, devolution is bespoke to each area and there is no one size fits all policy.

To secure devolution, areas need to make a significant offer to us on how they will ensure strong, strategic and accountable leadership across a clear economic geography.

The minister says the metro mayors of neighbouring city regions such as Manchester and Liverpool are helping shift the balance of power” and he believes the model works well.

Devolution is bespoke to each area and there is no one size fits all policy

He said: “Each of the five metro mayors in the Northern Powerhouse play a pivotal role in ensuring local community voices are heard on the national stage.

Describing the devolution agenda as “trail-blazing” he added: “In a relatively short timeframe, almost half of the people in the Northern Powerhouse are represented by a mayor with devolved powers which give them control over areas such as transport, finance, education and skills and housing.

However, we are still too over-reliant on London and we need to keep working on changing that.

A full version of this article can be found in the current issue of Lancashire Business View, available now