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Yorkshire MP demands 'regional government for the North'

The North of England should have a 'regional government for the North', a West Yorkshire MP has claimed.

In a Parliamentary debate, the Labour MP for Halifax Linda Riordan told ministers it was time "for central government to let go a little bit".

Over a period of years, maybe even decades, the increasing centralism of decision making has left the North without a proper democratic and accountable voice that can champion the area, boost investment and protect jobs.

– Linda Riordan MP (Labour, Halifax)

Calls for government to halt flood defence cuts

Labour have today called for the Government to reverse its decision to slash funding for flood defences following devastating downpours across West Yorkshire. The shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh claimed cutting flood defence spending by a third could leave more homes at risk.

She said: "Communities that have been devastated by flooding should not have to go through that experience again." But Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman insisted prevention was "a vital area of the work of Government" and said ministers were spending £2 billion on measures to stop floods.

In some places a month's rain fell in 24 hours, leaving hundreds of homes swimming in dirty water and prompting forecasters to say the country could be on course for one of the wettest Junes of the last 100 years.

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'Waste Of Public Money'

Councillors in Leeds have issued a joint statement criticising the Government for approving plans to distribute 'deeply unsatisfactory' leaflets to more than 400,000 homes across the city. The document details the forthcoming Mayoral election.

Leeds is being forced to print avery confusing question on its ballot papers in May, which the Council may yetseek to challenge. The leading nature of that question will only be compoundedby the selective information contained within this centrally approved andcentrally funded leaflet.**

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– Joint statement from Cllrs Keith Wakefield, Andrew Carter, and Stewart Golton.

Councillors say voters could be given unbalanced information that could impact on the decision they are being asked to make in May about how their city will be run.

The Council will dispatch the Government approved leaflet this week.

The Government may be footing the bill for this leaflet instead of the Council but it remains a poor use of £150k of public money.

– Joint statement from Cllrs Keith Wakefield, Andrew Carter, and Stewart Golton.
  • Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader, Labour group
  • Andrew Carter, Leader, Conservative Group
  • Stewart Golton, Leader, Liberal Democrat Group