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Osborne to outline devolution plan for England

British Chancellor George Osborne
British Chancellor George Osborne
British Chancellor George Osborne

George Osborne plans to give English cities powers over housing, transport, planning and policing will be set out in his first post-election speech.

Greater Manchester, which will elect a mayor in two years and take on such powers, should become a blueprint for other large cities, he will say.

The “old model” of running everything from London is “broken” and has unbalanced the economy, he will add.

A Cities Devolution Bill will be in the Queen’s Speech later this month Reports BBC.

Speaking in Manchester, the chancellor is expected to say that trying to run everything in the country from London has “made people feel remote from the decisions that affect their lives.

“It’s not good for our prosperity or our democracy.”

He will go on to say that the government will also deliver the devolution to Scotland and Wales it promised.

As part of the devolution plan, only cities that elected their own mayor would be given control of local transport, housing, skills and healthcare.

“I will not impose this model on anyone,” Mr Osborne will say, “but nor will I settle for less.”

“My door now is open to any other major city who wants to take this bold step into the future.”

Last year, leaders of Greater Manchester’s 10 councils agreed to the area’s first mayoral election, described by Mr Osborne at the time as “a massive moment for the north of England”.

The move came two years after the people in Manchester had voted against having a mayor for the city alone.

Under the devolution plans, the mayor would lead Greater Manchester Combined Authority, chair its meetings and allocate responsibilities to a cabinet made up of the leaders of each of the 10 councils.

Councils in Greater Manchester currently control about £5bn of public money each year.