Great Britain

Boris Johnson warned after Queen's Speech

BORIS Johnson has been warned the electoral support in the north of England which secured his landslide victory could wane if funding for projects is not forthcoming.

Responding the Queen’s Speech, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said northern regions needed new devolution deals so investment decisions could be made at a local level.

Labour’s strongholds in the north collapsed after the country went to the polls in last week’s General Election, but Mr Murison has said the Tories would have to deliver to maintain trust.

He said more devolved powers across the area would allow people to direct public spending.

Mr Murison said: “Giving local communities more control over investment in their areas is devolution with a legislative framework still needed to make this a right no longer just a privilege to be given from Whitehall.

“This must include levelling up of all powers that those like Greater Manchester have where fellow mayors want them as well as more powers for those that have been at the leading edge to not hold back their further progress.

“From Cumbria to Cheshire, and across to the Humber and Leeds City Region, we need new devolution deals agreed with urgency to give communities the control over funding that in the Queen’s Speech they are promised, spending more of the existing money Whitehall does here more efficiently and taking control of every penny of new investment for the north.

“Otherwise, the new blue wall will start collapsing long before the next General Election comes.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the area he represents had already seen the huge benefits of devolution and the importance of decisions that impact local people being made in the region.

He said: “Because of devolution and the powers given to us by central government, we have been able to prioritise the projects that really matter to people in Teesside, whether it be saving our airport from closing, our work with the South Tees Development Corporation to help an area that was devastated following the closure of SSI, pushing government to support a new Tees Crossing, improving Darlington and Middlesbrough stations and giving us freeport status to transform our region’s economy once we leave the EU.

“Over the coming months, we will make even more progress on priorities that were determined locally because of the devolution agreement we have.

“While other regions without mayors have decisions taken for them by Whitehall civil servants, the people of the Tees Valley are in the driving seat for getting what is best for our region.”

There were 25 Bills in the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the Government’s legislative programme, but Brexit was the main issue with a commitment to leaving the European Union on the delayed departure date of January 31.

Seven Bills are devoted to Brexit including ones on trade, agriculture, fisheries, immigration, financial services and private international law.

The Queen said: “My ministers will bring forward legislation to ensure the United Kingdom’s exit on that date and to make the most of the opportunities that this brings for all the people of the United Kingdom.”