York Council Leader Calls for More Powers for Leeds City Region
4:55pm 23rd June 2014
(Updated 6:12pm 23rd June 2014)
York Council leader James Alexander has called for more powers for the Leeds City Region, saying it would improve transport.
The city council leader was speaking after Chancellor George Osborne called for a high speed rail line connecting Leeds and Manchester, with the North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce saying the line should come to York.
James Alexander backed the call, saying the possible HS3 line should run from Liverpool through Manchester, Leeds and York before ending in Hull.
But the council leader said more powers over transport should be given to local enterprise partnerships like the Leeds City Region. James Alexander told Minster FM:
"We welcome the concept of a northern high speed link, which would have a huge positive economic impact for the north of England if it is put in place."
"We've been working with local authorities across the East Coast mainline to progress improvements to the existing line and would want to ensure that any new connectivity, preferably from Liverpool and right through Leeds and York to Hull would bring GVA (gross value added) benefits to communities, both directly on or connected to the line in the same way. Through work with partners across the East Coast mainline that the priority investment for some along the line would be a greater connectivity in the north between cities before High Speed Two. My hope is that today's announcement by the Chancellor will enable us to work together towards gaining both."
"However, as the Chancellor himself said this has got to be about devolving power as well as money. And on that the government's record to date does not inspire confidence with it's promises on local autonomy to raise resources to invest in transport through the Leeds City Deal, as yet unfulfilled, and if we need a Mayor to get that autonomy as the Chancellor implied then I would want to see a strong devolution offer to build strong popular support given the rejection so far of elected mayors by the electorate."
Since this story was first put online, James Alexander has clarified he was not calling for elected mayors as previously reported.
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