Andy Burnham will call for more powers to be given to towns, cities and the regions.
He’ll make the case in a speech urging the U.K. to embrace a more federal form of government in Newcastle this afternoon.
He’ll also argue for an English equivalent of the Barnett formula — the controversial Treasury mechanism to adjust spending in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to reflect changes in public service spending in England.
The Barnett Formula also currently delivers funding to the devolved nations in the form of a flexible block grant that can be invested in locally decided priorities, over the long term. An English version of the formula that delivers the same kind of flexible funding for places like Greater Manchester would ‘end the tyranny of the Whitehall bidding culture where pots of funding are set at a national level and everyone else wastes time and resources bidding and competing.’
The Mayor will also argue that cities like Aberdeen and Dundee could be offered similar powers to those of Greater Manchester, where local leaders have control over their own version of national back to work programmes. The Mayor will set out the success of Greater Manchester’s own ‘Working Well’ back to work programme which has proved to be more successful than its national equivalent.
Speaking at the ‘These Islands’ Conference, the Mayor is expected to say: “We have had 20 years where there has been a different deal on offer for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland –compared to the rest of the UK, and where London has had preferential treatment, and that cannot continue. The hoarding of power at a national level is deeply unhealthy and the UK must embrace a more federal form of government, much deeper devolution to all parts of the UK and an English version of the Barnett Formula.
“If power is held centrally the consequence is deeper divisions along party political lines, or worse nationalism. Power placed beyond central governments gives it to the people on a regional, city or even town level, and helps create a sense of pride in place. Pride in where you live or work can act as a unifier in these divided, uncertain times and crucially, it is the best way to ensure that the United Kingdom survives as one country.”