We'll give English regions more power, says Jenrick

By Geraldine Scott, PA Political Correspondent & Debra Hunter

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has pledged that more powers will be handed down from Whitehall to England's regions as ministers continue to “widen and deepen” the devolution agenda.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Jenrick signalled the revival of plans to offer “full devolution” as first promised in the Tory 2019 manifesto.

Speaking from the new secondary headquarters of the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government in Wolverhampton, he told the newspaper: “We would like to encourage parts of the country that want to come forward to do devolution deals with us.”

He added: “We unlocked the Sheffield city region, we now have Dan Jarvis as the mayor.

"We’ve created the West Yorkshire devolution deal and have a fully elected mayor there. There are other parts of the country that are negotiating with us.”

Jenrick said there was interest in creating new mayoralties in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the East Riding of Yorkshire In other areas of the country, he said, county deals may be more appropriate.

The minister's renewed commitment to devolution comes after concerns grew that Boris Johnson had gone cold on the idea following a high-profile spat with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, over coronavirus.

Jenrick told the newspaper: “It’s about being more innovative in the way we deliver public services and believing that there doesn’t need to be a single model for the whole country… what we want to do is work with the mayors with further measures.

“We can encourage them and work with high-performing councils to give them more power over the delivery of public services.”

A "levelling up" white paper is due for publication in the autumn, and is understood to supersede a previously promised devolution plan.

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