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Greater Manchester selects interim mayor

Tony Lloyd - march 2013Tony Lloyd has been selected as the interim mayor of Greater Manchester to serve until an election for the position in 2017.

The police and crime commissioner was chosen over Lord Smith, the leader of Wigan Council and the current chair of the combined authority, after two hours of deliberations.

The decision was made by a panel representing the 10 Greater Manchester councils, made up of the leaders of Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, the mayor of Salford and the deputy leader of Wigan.

The appointment followed interviews, a series of engagement events around the region at which the two candidates were questioned by Greater Manchester councillors, and sessions with key private, public and voluntary sector partners.

Lloyd, whose job as commissioner was to be scrapped with all responsibilities handed to the mayor, said: “This is an exciting and challenging time for Greater Manchester. As we move towards devolution we have to ensure that there is a strong voice making the case to government on Greater Manchester’s behalf. I am pleased that I will be that voice, but to be effective my role must carry legitimacy with the people of Greater Manchester.

“The public must be involved as we move forward. Issues like health, community safety and economic development are too important for decisions to be made behind closed doors. The changes we need can only be delivered if the public has bought into them and are included in the debate.”

The appointment is set to be officially confirmed at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting on 26 June, when Lloyd will take up the post.

The post was created as part of the deal which will see Greater Manchester receive a multi-billion pound package of devolved funds and powers from central government.

The combined authority will control £6bn of health and social care spending, £300m of housing funding the police, plus powers over transport, skills and economic development.

The chancellor, George Osborne, wants to see other cities follow suit, announcing the Cities and Local Government Devolution bill in the Queen’s Speech. However he has made it clear that the transfer of major powers, such as with Greater Manchester, will only be made to cities who agree to a metro mayor.

(Top picture by: Joe Mott)

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