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09/05/2017

Six mayors elected in English city-regions

Words: Laura Edgar
Mayoral elections in England / Shutterstock_225476584

Four Conservative and two Labour candidates won mayoral elections and will now lead combined authorities across England.

Combined authorities comprise of councils that will work together using powers devolved from central government.

These powers include planning, housing, transport, skills and economic development.

In the West Midlands, Conservative Andy Street, former managing director of John Lewis, won the election race. The West Midlands Combined Authority covers Birmingham, Telford, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Nuneaton, Tamworth and Redditch. Over the course of 30 years, £1.1 billion will be made available to the region.

Under the deal struck in 2015, Street will work with leaders across the authority area acting as chair to implement transport investment, strategic planning and he will lobby on matters important to the area in Westminster and to the rest of the world.

Street has said (external link) he will tax vacant land and use money to support development. He will hold office for three years.

Labour’s Andy Burnham, a former shadow home secretary, has been elected as the mayor for Greater Manchester (external link). According to a Manchester Evening News report (external), a “radical” rewrite of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is required and he has promised to bring forward plans for a “Northern Powerhouse Rail”, which would connect Manchester with Liverpool and Leeds.

The West of England Combined Authority (external link), comprising Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils, will be chaired by Conservative Tim Bowles. He has vowed to (external link) “prioritise housing in urban regeneration areas where demand is greatest, where better infrastructure exists [and] where there are strong employment opportunities”. He also wants to revive suburban rail services.

Former chancellor George Osborne signed a devolution deal with the Shadow Tees Valley Combined Authority in October 2015. Conservative Ben Houchen, formerly leader of the Conservative Group on Stockton Council, will be the mayor for the area.

Tees Valley will receive £15 million a year over the next 30 years. Houchen has said he supports combined authority plans to build 22,000 homes over the next 10 years and has vowed to save Tees Valley Airport (external link).

Steve Rotheram, formerly MP for Liverpool Walton, has been voted in as mayor for the Liverpool City Region.

The Liverpool City Region deal was agreed in 2015 with Osborne. It includes £900 million of government investment and control over local transport budgets. He has said the city region (external link) will use its strategic planning and housing powers to “prioritise brownfield sites for future development”.

Conservative James Palmer, previously leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, was voted in as mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which was announced by current communities secretary Sajid Javid in March 2017. Funding includes £600 million for economic growth and £170 million four housing. He has said green boundary changes will only be allowed in “exceptional circumstances” (external link).

Image credit | Shuttershock

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