‘Give more power to the North’ call

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Two academics have called for substantial power to be devolved to a directly-elected Northern Parliament, as part of a new “Federal Britain”.

Professor Jeffrey Henderson and Dr Suet Ying Ho are members of the pro-devolution Hannah Mitchell Foundation.

They make a case for a major re-structuring of the British state, with major powers devolved to the English regions alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They said: “Other than Japan, Britain has probably the most centralised state system of any major country in the world.

“With this has come the concentration of economic, political and cultural power in a single city: London.

“To develop the vision and political will needed to rejuvenate the North and Britain’s other regions and nations, we consequently cannot rely on Westminster.

“The people of the North have to take political responsibility for our own communities.”

They are critical of the ‘piecemeal’ approach which has so far been adopted by the Coalition Government, and the limited vision of Labour’s proposals for devolution.

They said: “While the city-region and related initiatives are useful steps forward, after decades of neglect of the North and elsewhere, they are insufficient to the now considerable task of economic transformation.

“They are so, because they ultimately exist at the behest of central government.”

Prof Henderson and Dr Ho make a case for a major political, as well as economic, re-structuring of the UK, with a written constitution.