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West of England Lib Dems call for greater devolution – but say no to a ‘Metro Mayor’

by southgloslibdems on 23 December, 2014

The leaders of the West of England’s four Liberal Democrats groups (South Gloucestershire, Bristol, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset) have written a joint letter to the Deputy Prime Minister calling for more powers to be devolved to the local level.

The letter comes after recent moves by the Government to devolve powers to Manchester and other city regions. In it, the four Lib Dem leaders call for greater local control over business rates, highways and infrastructure projects, as well as more power to boost employment and skills.

However, the letter also makes it clear that Lib Dem councillors in the West of England do not want a Combined Authority or Metro Mayor imposed on the region, as has been proposed elsewhere. Ruth Davis, leader of the Lib Dems on South Gloucestershire Council, said: “The four West of England Councils already have a good track record of working together through the Strategic Leaders Board and the Local Enterprise Partnership, so why reinvent the wheel?”

“Our message to Government is that the West of England is capable of governing itself, but we don’t need another layer of politicians and bureaucracy to do so. Many Labour and Conservative councillors from across the region have expressed support for this position too. I hope the Government will take notice of this cross-party consensus and act accordingly.”

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