The Communities Secretary has pledged that more powers will be handed down from Whitehall as ministers continue to “widen and deepen” the devolution agenda.
In an interview with the Financial Times from the new secondary headquarters of the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government in Wolverhampton, Robert Jenrick moved to revive plans to offer “full devolution” as first promised in the Tory 2019 manifesto.
He told the newspaper: “We would like to encourage parts of the country that want to come forward to do devolution deals with us.”
And 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.”
Mr Jenrick said there was interest in creating new mayoralities in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the East Riding of Yorkshire – while in other areas of the country, county deals may be more appropriate.
It comes after concern that Boris Johnson had gone cold on the idea of devolution following a high-profile spat with the mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham over coronavirus.
But Mr 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, which is understood to supersede a previously promised devolution plan.