Chi Onwurah told the Prime Minister today that the North East needed a no-strings-attached devolution of powers and budgets. Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Chi said that the north east has had the fastest productivity growth in the UK and called on the Prime Minister to give the people of the north east the extra powers need to be build an economy that matches their values.
Chi asked the Prime Minister:
Under the Prime Minister, UK productivity has plummeted – 30% behind Germany, the US and France, the widest gap since 1992 – and another Tory Government. But in the north east, thanks to our manufacturing and technical prowess, productivity growth is the highest in the country. So isn’t it time he gave us the powers we need – particularly over skills – to build an economy that matches our values –without a Boris, sorry mayor attached.
The Prime Minister said in response that Chi was right to raise productivity but did not comment on the need to devolve powers at all.
Another unanswered question.
Newcastle rejected an elected mayor at a referendum in 2012 and the region rejected a regional assembly before that. Yet the Government are insisting that the region have an elected mayor before it devolves powers in areas such as skills and transport that the region needs to boost its economy.