I want 100 per cent devolution across the North, Minister Jake Berry tells Tory conference

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry.
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One hundred per cent of people in the North of England will be represented by metro mayors as part of the Government's efforts to take powers from Downing Street and "return them to your street", Minister Jake Berry has claimed.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Mr Berry, a key ally of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, told Conservative Party Conference that he wanted everyone in the North "having the power to drive their local economy by having a powerful, accountable metro mayor".

The Yorkshire Post revealed today that a devolution deal could be weeks away from being signed in West Yorkshire after "constructive" talks between Mr Berry and the county's political leaders.

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And in his speech the Minister focused on devolution and transport as evidence of the Government's apparent desire to revitalise the North.

Mr Johnson has already made two major speeches in Manchester and Rotherham and promised to deliver high speed rail between Leeds and Manchester in what is seen as an effort to win over voters in Leave-backing areas held by Labour MPs.

Mr Berry said today that all existing metro mayors would soon have the same powers over a range of budgets as Greater Manchester's Andy Burnham.

He added: "The next thing we will do once we have levelled up, to make sure we level up everywhere else that doesn't currently have devolution, that ability to drive their local economy, we are going to have devolution across the whole of the North of England, 100 per cent of people who live in the North having the power to drive their local economy by having a powerful, accountable metro mayor.

"That means that if you live in West Yorkshire, you have a metro mayor of West Yorkshire. If you live in Lancashire, Cumbria, other areas of the North East, County Durham, we will look to do a devolution deal with you.

"That is the first time in history any government has taken power, money and influence away from the centre and returned it to the North of England."

The Lancashire MP said: "Let's not forget five years ago there was no devolution at all in the North of England. Now 50 per cent of the people who live in the North of England are represented by a metro mayor.

"We have taken powers from Downing Street and we are returning them to your street here in the North of England."