The Leader of Bolton Council has welcomed the news that all ten Greater Manchester local authorities have reached an agreement today to form a new combined authority.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority would be established to co-ordinate transport, regeneration and economic development functions and to oversee the performance of the new devolved powers in the Pilot City Region agreement which was signed last December by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) Leaders and the Regional Minister.
Under the new arrangements a Joint Committee would be established to assume responsibility for delivering transport across the Manchester City Region.
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, said: “This is a historic day which will benefit the people of Bolton by giving the region a bigger say in its own destiny. This deal will help secure the economic future of our town and the region. It will also help ensure that Greater Manchester can successfully secure more jobs for local people and attract new investment to help speed up the region’s economic recovery.”
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of AGMA and Leader of Wigan, added: “The establishment of the new combined authority would give a strong voice to the Manchester City Region where we can work together for the economic benefit of everyone across Greater Manchester when it is in all our interests to do so.
“This is about growth, it is about jobs, it is about investment and it is about our City Region speaking with a strong, united voice.
“Today’s agreement marks the end of a process which has been rightfully subjected to rigorous scrutiny by all 10 Greater Manchester authorities. It demonstrates the commitment of all of us – whatever our political hue – to put the common interests of our communities first.”
The submission will now go to the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Transport and, if approved by Ministers, will then be subject to a 15-week consultation. AGMA has requested that the new authority should be created from April 1, 2011.
AGMA believes the creation of the combined authority is the best way to deliver the aspirations for Manchester City Region and will support economic success.
Sir Richard Leese, Vice Chair of AGMA and Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Today’s announcement is particularly important in times of economic constraints to ensure we can exercise influence over priorities to accelerate our position as we come out of the recession. This is probably the most significant opportunity we have had to create a platform for genuine devolution.”
The Pilot City Region includes a number of reforms relating to transport, skills, post-16 education, economic development, low carbon and early years development giving the Manchester City Region more of a say in its own destiny.
The creation of the combined authority would see a real and significant transfer of powers from central government to the City Region. Transport powers, for example, would be similar to those wielded by Transport for London.