Lord Heseltine used his recent appearance before the Communities and Local Government Select Committee to press the case for for directly elected Mayors as being of key importance to localism.
Illustrating his case with the eample of Manchester he said:
What would interest me is how you can create the greatest spark of dynamism and pursuit of quality in Manchester when what the leader or the chief executive of Manchester has to worry about is what the Ministry of Transport or the Ministry of Housing, or the Ministry of Education, or the Ministry of the Environment thinks? They are living in compartments, and the career structure of the people they employ is all about those compartments. It is not about Manchester, it is about saying, "Can we have a road here?" Whether it relates to the Manchester ship canal-well that might because it is the same Department-but whether it creates a science park for the university, or whether it creates better housing in a particular area, it has got nothing to do with the Ministry of Transport.
There is no one in central Government looking at Manchester and asking what can be done to enable Manchester to excel. There are people in central Government looking at its housing, education and transport. It is all micro. I know of no other country of our sort that behaves in this way. But the staff working in Manchester respond to all of this. The power and money they have comes from the central Government in a functional route. The circulars they get do not talk about going to Manchester, they talk about a particular function of Manchester. They send the same circulars to Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds and Bradford. There is an allseeing, allknowing, allthinking functional direction from London.