Miliband in regional devolution promise as Scotland gains powers

Labour leader Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband

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ED Miliband has promised a Labour Government will match Scottish devolution with increased powers for English regions.

The Labour leader yesterday recommitted himself to a £30bn devolution package announced by the party earlier this year, alongside a renewed promise to replace the House of Lords with a regionally-elected senate.

Mr Miliband was speaking after the Smith Commission recommended handing over tax and spend powers to Scotland, prompting widespread concern at the economic advantages the Scottish government would soon enjoy over English regions.

Among those new powers are control over income tax and the air passenger duty holiday tax.

However, while the Doncaster MP repeated plans to devolve control of public spending to city and regional leaders, he held back from any commitment over local tax raising powers.

Mr Miliband said instead he would promise action to ensure extra powers for Scotland do not hurt other parts of the UK including English Regional Airports

The Labour leader promised there would be a “fairer funding” settlement for the English regions to “end the bias against poorer areas.”

He told an audience at the Nissan plant in Sunderland: “Labour recognises that devolution does not and must not stop at the Scottish border. It must represent a change, a new principle, determining how we are governed throughout the United Kingdom.

“For far too long, England has been one of the most centralised nations in the world, choking off the energy and the initiative of the great towns and cities that once powered the industrial revolution: Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Sunderland and many others.”

Labour would introduce the Scottish devolution proposals in its first Queen’s Speech, Mr Miliband added.

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