Trio of mayors call for post-Brexit devolution to the Northern Powerhouse  

In pro-Brexit Teesside, the EU provides £25m a year in structural and investment funds to help poorer areas. So what will happen after we leave the EU?

A letter has been written to Brexit secretary David Davis from Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram calling for guarantees that funding to the area will continue after Brexit.

The three mayors have asked that the Tories’ proposed “shared prosperity fund” be handed over to the people of the regions in the Northern Powerhouse to make up for any cuts that come into play after leaving the EU.

They want to be given the power to spend the funds themselves, rather than risk a “Whitehall power grab”.

The letter to Davis said: “The temptation for Whitehall will be to pass responsibility from Brussels to London, to impose national priorities and set up separate channels of accountability to civil servants and ministers.

“This would be a missed opportunity.

“The government’s vision for a modern Industrial Strategy is not capable of being delivered by Whitehall alone, but will necessitate co-design and co-delivery with functional city regions, through functional economies operating locally, contributing to the national economy through their distinctive local assets and opportunities.”

Stability for investors

The trio met Davis at a meeting in York in October where they discussed issues surrounding Brexit.

A Department for Brexit spokesman said: “The Government has guaranteed funding for all European Structural and Investment Fund projects signed before we leave the EU – provided they are value for money and in line with domestic priorities.

“These guarantees are designed to ensure projects are not disrupted, communities do not miss out and gives British organisations, and potential investors, the certainty and stability they need to help us make a success of Brexit.

“As the Secretary of State has said, we are committed to ensuring that every region of the UK is able to flourish, as we continue to make decisive steps towards our exit from the EU.”

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