English devolution - Devo revolution?
Devolution deals have been agreed with ten 'combined authorities' across England. More are proposed, including in southern England. Does this represent a fundamental change in the way England is governed? Or is there too little money and power to allow local authorities to make a real difference in their area? Is it 'power to the people or a cosy deal between ministers and council leaders in which the public have no say? And where do mayors fit in? This lecture in the Centre for English Identity and Politics' Governance of England series will look at the power and potential of English devolution as it is emerging in one key city region in Yorkshire.
Councillor Judith Blake is leader of Leeds City Council and a key player in the establishment of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the negotiation of the Leeds City Region Deal. Cllr Judith Blake was elected as the first ever female Leader of Leeds City Council in May 2015. She represents Middleton & Belle Isle in Leeds. She is also the Council’s Executive Board Member for Economy and Culture and is playing a key role in attracting major national and international inward investment in to Leeds. In July 2016 Cllr Blake was announced as Chair of the Core Cities Group. The Group represents the Councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London, along with Glasgow and Cardiff. She is also Vice Chair of the LGA’s Environment, Economy, Housing & Transport Board.
Cllr Blake has been an elected member since 1996. Her time as a Councillor has seen her have responsibility for a wide range of portfolios including Planning, Education and Leisure. Cllr Blake currently chairs the Council’s Executive Board and has also served as a board member for NHS Leeds and the West Yorkshire Police Authority. In her role as Executive Member for Children’s and Families’ Cllr Blake helped Children’s Services achieve an Ofsted rating of ‘good overall’ with a rating of ‘outstanding’ for Leadership and Management; only 4 other authorities have an ‘outstanding’ rating within their report.