John Stevenson MP for Carlisle yesterday ensured that the Government’s move towards devolution would not just focus on cities, and that counties would be included too.
In a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament yesterday, John questioned James Wharton, the Parliament under Secretary of State, responsible for the Northern Powerhouse on the issue.
John said in the debate on City Regions and Metro Mayors that it was ‘extremely important to remember the counties that are further away from the cities, such as Cumbria?’
The Minister in his response confirmed that ‘The Bill (Cities and Local Government Devolution) we are considering is an enabling one that will allow us to tailor packages for different areas right across the country. We want to see cities succeed- they can be drivers of growth- but counties contribute a huge amount to our economy as well.’
John said ‘With the Government highlighting cities in the title of the Bill, I wanted to ensure that counties such as Cumbria would not be missing out on devolution. It is important that the tools are available to Cumbria to enable the county to make decisions for itself and to be accountable to those who live here. I am confident that the Government will be allowing all areas of Britain, including Cumbria to take advantage of devolved powers. This is a very exciting time for the governance of our county and I do hope that as a county, we grasp this opportunity.’