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Cameron unveils city mayor plans

Source ITN

Updated on 17 February 2009

Tory leader David Cameron has unveiled plans to give power to the people by creating directly elected mayors in 12 English cities.

Mr Cameron said his proposals would make local Government more accountable to the public and transfer power from the state to local people.

Speaking to an audience of more than 100 people at Coventry Transport Museum, Mr Cameron said he wanted to see "a fundamental shift of power and wealth" back towards local people and institutions.

Under the Tories' plans, regional development agencies would be stripped of their powers, councils would be encouraged to establish their own local enterprise partnerships and residents would be able to veto high Council Tax rises.

Citizens in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Wakefield, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Newcastle would also be given the opportunity to choose whether to have their cities run by directly-elected mayors.

In addition, councils would be required to publish detailed information on their expenditure, including the pay of senior staff.

Claiming the measures would offer the path to a better society, Mr Cameron said: "Decentralisation is an absolutely essential component of our progressive Conservative philosophy.

"Instead of some ruling class making decisions about everyone else, we believe in everyone taking responsibility for shaping their lives, their families and their neighbourhoods.

"Decentralisation is an essential part of our move to a post-bureaucratic age, where power and responsibility are in the hands of the people, not the politicians or the bureaucrats.

"I strongly believe that our vision of an empowering state rather than the current reality of an overpowering state offers the path to the good society and the good life we all seek.

"So the next election won't just be about whether to transfer power from Labour to the Conservatives.

"It will also be about whether to transfer power from the central state to local people and local institutions."

© Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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