Council expects progress on city region plans in May

Leeds is pressing to be the next regional city to agree a deal with the government that will see it handed more powers and flexibilities, including a mooted £1bn transport investment fund.

The plans, set out in a report to Leeds council’s executive board, would involve the Leeds City Region setting up a new form of city regional governance, called a combined authority, for which it would receive new powers and flexibilities from government over a range of policy areas.

Currently only Greater Manchester has a combined authority in place, which works to bind the 10 authorities into a statutory body accountable for spending across the city region.

Leeds’ so-called “city deal”, which would follow that agreed in last month’s Budget for Greater Manchester, and the first deal for Liverpool agreed earlier this year, would include a transport investment fund “of at least £1bn”, the council report said.

The report also mooted the creation of a new £200m investment fund, formed by pooling funds from the councils that make up Leeds City Region, which would be matched “pound for pound” with resource from central government.

The report said the deal would also cover areas such as skills, and trade and investment.

An announcement is expected following the local elections next month, the report said.