Main parties drop elected mayors from devolution deals

ELECTED MAYORS will no longer be a condition of devolution deals after the measure was dropped from the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem manifestos.

The requirement to adopt an elected mayor as part of a devolution deal was introduced in 2014 by then-Chancellor George Osborne, despite nine out of 11 cities rejecting elected mayors in referendums two years earlier.

"It's right people have a single point of accountability; someone they elect who takes the decisions and carries the can," Osborne said in 2015.

But the decision to drop the requirement from the main parties' manifestos has been welcomed by the County Councils Network, which called it a "major blockade" in devolving powers to rural England.  

"CCN has long argued that the requirement for a directly elected mayor in devolution deals is arbitrary, unnecessary and unwanted by county residents," said director Simon Edwards.

"Despite debates becoming bogged down over governance in county areas, county authorities' desire for ambitious devolution deals that bring fresh powers and funding to the heart of their local communities has never diminished.

"Our members look forward to working with whichever Government is in charge on a new chapter for devolution that genuinely empowers England's counties based on the strong local leadership and county geographies already in place."

Earlier this month, the first six metro mayors were elected in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City-Region, the West Midlands, the West of England, Tees Valley and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.