Petition Hold a referendum in Greater Manchester on removing the position of Mayor

The Mayor of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is unable to pause or stop the controversial Clean Air Zone in the region. Since the position is powerless, it should be disbanded, with powers returned to the 10 councils of Greater Manchester to govern themselves.

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Disbanding the position would mean taxpayers’ money could be diverted to more useful areas to pay for extra police officers and/or nurses. The position was never wanted by the people of Greater Manchester, it was imposed upon us. Let the 10 towns be free from this position.

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Government responded

This response was given on 25 May 2022

The government has set a mission that, by 2030, every part of England that wants a devolution deal will have one. This will give areas more powers and flexibility in return for greater accountability.

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Following a request, together with supporting evidence, from Greater Manchester authorities, we have agreed to allow a short delay to the implementation of the Clean Air Zone. This will allow Greater Manchester to provide further evidence and a revised plan by July setting out how it will deliver legal levels of NO2 as soon as possible. A full statement is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-greater-manchester-clean-air-zone

The Government believes that strong and dynamic local leadership, that can understand how complex issues come together in a place, tailor policy to local priorities, attract investment and seize each area’s opportunities, is critical to levelling up. Strengthening local leadership through devolution will give local politicians control of the levers they need to level up and deliver better outcomes and services for local residents.

That is why Government has announced the biggest ever transfer of power away from Westminster to local government in modern times. Building on the 2019 manifesto commitment to full devolution across England, the UK Government is setting itself a mission that, by 2030, every part of England that wants a devolution deal will have one, with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution, with a simplified, long-term funding settlement.

To help achieve this mission, for the first time Government has published in the Levelling Up White Paper a devolution framework which sets out a clear menu of options for places in England that wish to unlock the benefits of devolution. This builds on powers successfully transferred from Westminster to locally accountable bodies through earlier devolution deals, including powers over transport, adult education and housing.

These earlier devolution deals have unlocked tangible benefits for local communities. In the 2012 City Deal, for example, Greater Manchester and Government developed the ground-breaking Earn Back model, which has supported c.£3bn investment in the city region’s transport system over the last decade, including the A6-Manchester Airport Relief Road and the Trafford Park Metrolink line. The success of this model was recognised by the National Infrastructure Commission in its 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment.

We want to build on earlier successes by deepening the devolution settlements of the most mature institutions to support them in delivering further benefits for local residents. We recognise, however, that new mechanisms are needed to strengthen local accountability and our Levelling Up White Paper identifies accountability as one of the four principles of the devolution framework. In pursuit of this principle, we have committed to a new accountability framework for all areas with devolved powers, to be agreed before any new devolution deals are agreed.

We are also establishing a new independent body in England focused on data, transparency and robust evidence. This will enhance the UK Government’s understanding of place-based leadership, quality of local service delivery and organisational efficacy. Strengthening data will be the cornerstone of this body, supporting councils to learn from one-another, be user-focused and identify areas for improvement.

This independent body will empower citizens with information about their local area, and make it easier for them to engage with local proposals, input into service design and build pride in their place. It will also strengthen local leaders’ knowledge of their services, enabling them to share best practice, innovate and drive improvement.

We will be setting out further detail on a number of these policy commitments in future publications. In addition, we will shortly be introducing legislation to Parliament to underpin in statute the changes fundamental to levelling up, alongside wider planning measures.

Finally, removing the position of mayor from a mayoral combined authority dissolves the combined authority’s area and abolishes the combined authority. This process requires secondary legislation, which requires the majority of the constituent members of the combined authority and the mayor to consent to the making of the order, as well as parliamentary approval.

Department of Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities

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