'Control has ebbed away to Whitehall'
GOVERNMENT minister Greg Clark wants cities to regain their place as engine rooms for the UK economy.
Mr Clark, who visited Hull last week to deliver feedback on the Hull and Humber City Deal bid, said: "A hundred years ago, there was no question that the future of every one of our great cities was driven by the initiative of the leaders and people of those cities. "Yet, during the last century, year by year, the power has ebbed away from the city hall to Whitehall.
"I am determined that this Government will turn that tide and once again restore initiative, power and, through that, prosperity to our cities, and through them, to our country."
Eight city-regions, including Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, Liverpool, were awarded City Deals last year.
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At the time, there was no competitive bidding process involved.
Now, however, another 20 urban areas are bidding against each other.
As well as Hull and the Humber, other areas include the likes of the Tees Valley, Reading, Norwich, Preston and Coventry.
Mr Clark said: "Cities will need to make a case for new investment and powers, with a clear evidence base and a strong economic rationale.
"They will need to show how new flexibilities will benefit local people and they will need to demonstrate how they would manage budgets, and hold themselves accountable to residents.
"Every deal is a two-way trade. We expect cities to be ambitious in their asks of Government, but they should expect the Government to be equally demanding in return. There must be significant benefits and credible commitments for both parties."
The Hull and Humber bid firmly nails its colours to mast of economic growth linked to the estuary.
With optimism over the Humber's role as a hub for renewable energy development, the focus will be on encouraging the sector to invest in the area while ensuring existing firms to take advantage too.
Councillor Chris Shaw, the leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, was criticised last week by former city council leader Colin Inglis of trying to usurp Hull's position as the main area of influence in the region.
Today he said: ""This is about building a successful, sustainable future for the whole area and it has been a pleasure working with the other Humber local authorities to put together the proposals."