Recently Alex Sobel, our candidate here in Leeds NW, spoke in Leeds City Council on the North/South divide.
In so many ways the North has been left behind.
And at the heart of that divide lies a democratic deficit.
Plans – and funding – for things like transport, business support, housing are made – and allocated – AT WESTMINSTER – FOR THE NORTH.
We don’t control our own futures.
That’s why a massive devolution of power – AND MONEY – will be at the heart of a new Labour Government’s first spending review.
Labour would devolve £30 billion of funding over five years – including funding for housing, transport, business support, employment and adult skills.
Labour has also pledged that a Labour Treasury will allow city and county regions which come together in combined authorities to keep 100 per cent of extra business rates revenue generated by additional growth. They will then be able to invest this to support further business growth in their regions.
And under Labour it won’t just be places which choose to have an elected Mayor who will get power and money. Under Labour there won’t be a second-class deal for them.
As Ed Balls put it
‘“We want to see not just a Northern powerhouse, but Midlands, Eastern and Southern powerhouses too. We will not only back our great cities, but our towns and county regions too. Not just urban areas, but also rural areas.’
Alex Sobel, candidate here in Leeds NW agrees
“Local areas will be in the driving seat on key decisions affecting their local economies – with new powers over back-to-work schemes, to drive house building, and to integrate, invest in and plan transport infrastructure.’
Devolving power and money won’t, of course, mean we get everything we want. There are always constraints.
“But devolving power and money means WE make the decisions about what we want – according to local knowledge, local priorities.”
For over a generation power has been sucked away to Westminster.
Labour’s plans mark the biggest shift in power back to local people in living memory.
We may or may not get specific local infrastructure improvements.
But we’ll decide, on our own priorities, here in Yorkshire, thank you.
And if the vote goes the right way on 7 May, it will be thanks to Labour that we get that power.
If you want to help Alex Sobel win here in Leeds NW – sign up here