Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has vowed to push through transport projects including a Crossrail for Glasgow using newly devolved powers in Holyrood.
Speaking at the Core Cities Summit in Glasgow, Mr Murphy committed to further devolution to help create an ‘economic powerhouse’ of Scotland’s ‘twin cities’ of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
He used his speech in Glagsow to announce plans for a ‘designated Scottish Cities Strategy’. He has asked Glasgow City Council leader Cllr Gordon Matheson and Edinburgh City Council leader Andrew Burns to work with Andrew Adonis to come up with plan for taking devolution to councils further forward.
Mr Murphy said: ‘The historic shift in power from a government in Whitehall to a government in Edinburgh won’t deliver the full potential of devolution if it is simply the swapping of power out of one previously all too centralised government and to another increasingly centralised one.’
Announcing the steering group for the Scottish Cities Strategy, Mr Murphy said: ‘I have asked them to examine how we can turn our Twin Cities, of our biggest city and our capital city, into the economic powerhouse it should be, an economic hub to rival the established power of London, the emerging influence of Greater Manchester and the other dynamic City Regions across the country and continent.
‘I want to use our new borrowing powers used to bring forward projects like Glasgow Crossrail, the “missing link” in Glasgow’s rail infrastructure.’
The calls came as chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the UK would ‘without a doubt see more City Deals’, as urban areas reap ‘the benefits of the devolved model’.
Also speaking in Glasgow, Alexander said the ‘massive and wide-ranging’ powers devolved to the Scottish Government would ‘only really work’ if power is devolved ‘within Scotland too’.
‘We have seen that the devolved model works. It incentivises smart decision making. It delivers the right projects for each area. It harnesses the expertise and enthusiasm of people who know their own area far more thoroughly than the career civil servant from Whitehall. It empowers cities to determine their own future,’ Mr Alexander said.
To read more coverage from the Core Cities Summit, visit the MJ.