Scottish Independence Bid Pushes Clegg to Back North England Devolution
Scottish Independence Bid Pushes Clegg to Back North England DevolutionReuters

Britain's deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has lent support to a "radical" report, calling for the devolution of central government powers to England's regions and main cities, shadowing the unfolding independence referendum in Scotland.

Clegg insists that Westminster's pledge to grant Scotland more power over tax and welfare issues in the event the country chooses to stay in union with England, will mean the northern economy will require increased powers as well.

The IPPR North report argues that decentralisation of power for major northern England regions will better help the cities control and nurture their economies through greater power over spending and tax raising.

"[The report] is incredibly useful as shifting power away from Westminster to the cities and regions has long been a priority of mine," Clegg will say when he launches the report at Sheffield townhall, later on 12 September.

"Whichever way Scotland votes next week, Edinburgh will get new powers and widen the gap with local leaders across England," said IPPR North director Ed Cox.

"England has waited patiently while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been given ever greater devolution. Now is the time to redress the balance and devolve powers to English city-regions."

It identifies Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester as cities that should be granted devolution.

All of those cities, apart from Bristol, have lagged behind the national average GDP per capita.

The thinktank also proposed that each authority should be led by "metro mayors".