“Compelling” case for Cheshire devolution deal to be reached this year, NPP says

There are calls for the government to prioritise a Cheshire and Warrington devolution deal before the end of the year as northern leaders attempt to build upon the success of metro mayors.

In a new report entitled Devolution for the North, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) has stated the north still has “notable regional gaps” in devolution and has earmarked Cheshire and Warrington as the possible “missing link” between Manchester and Liverpool.

When identifying devolution deals for the future, the report says it’s vital that government “does not seek to impose a standardised blueprint or straightjacket based solely on existing models”. It continues by stating the importance of places having “their own identity and freedom” and take responsibility of their devolution deals in relation to unique circumstances.

Commenting on the possibility of a Cheshire devolution deal, Lord Jim O’Neill, vice-chairman of the NPP, said: “I consider the strength of the proposition in Cheshire quite compelling. Alongside key economic centres such as Warrington and Chester and in particular Crewe which will be directly connected to HS2, key sites in advanced manufacturing and energy function alongside world leading assets like Alderley Park. This demonstrates the significant importance of the corridor in health innovation stretching out from Cheshire linking the wider assets in Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester.”

In the paper, O’Neill also refers to the first year of elected mayors across Manchester, Liverpool and the Midlands as evidence of devolution success. The former minister argues that policies implemented by the mayors have been “central to delivering more balanced and stronger economic growth in England”. Delivering the right devolution deals is said to be a priority for the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the north of England if it is to fulfil its potential.

The Tatton Group is also backing plans for a deal, which would devolve powers to a new elected mayor.

Managing director Henry Brooks said: "Cheshire and Warrington is the gateway to the Northern Powerhouse – it is the glue that joins the great city regions of Manchester and Liverpool. As a successful northern economy, this is an opportunity to create even greater opportunities for current and future generations."

Alongside Cheshire and Warrington, Yorkshire and North of Tyne are the other two regional gaps identified in the devolution case. 

To view the report in full, click here.

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