The way the country is governed “has to change” or Britain’s future could be at risk, the shadow-matching secretary has said.
Lisa Nandy, in a speech at the Northern Convention on Wednesday, is expected to outline Labor’s proposal to free “the power of all the people in all parts of Britain” by handing control of Westminster to local communities.
He will accuse the Conservatives of “writing off” areas that once fueled the UK economy and failing to deliver on the promise made in the 2019 manifesto to create opportunities beyond London and the south-east of England.
Ms Nandy is expected to say in Manchester: “Ambition is everywhere in the towns, villages and towns that were once the engines of Britain, written and written out of our national history for too long.
“For the 15 years since the global crash, the failure of running such an economy has been obvious.
“But every time public opinion has sounded the alarm, hitting our politicians with tsunami after tsunami of discontent, our creaking political system has done nothing.
“This is the common task facing our generation of political leaders: to answer this siren call or face obsolescence. Change or die.”
A shadow cabinet member will urge local leaders to tell Labor what powers they need to drive growth in their areas, as part of what opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer has called his Take Back Control Bill.
Ms Nandy said the legislation, described as the centerpiece of the King’s first speech under the new Labor administration, would aim to “empower our communities to take control of their own economic future”.
The Wigan MP will tell the conference her party, if it won the next general election, would fulfill its pledge to hand over powers across a range of policy areas including housing, energy, childcare, buses, trains, skills, training and employment.
Party officials said Ms Nandy would describe the current local government funding model as “ridiculous” and “undemocratic” and the system would be replaced with “a significant extension of economic devolution in England” at the launch of Starmer.
Vowing to “end a century of centralization”, Ms. Nandy promises to “bake” that commitment “in our first two terms”.
Ms Nandy will say: “Unleashing power for all people in all parts of the UK is no longer ‘nice to have’, a local or regional issue – it is at the heart of whether this country has a future or not.”
Labor is now the frontrunner to lead the next UK government, with Sir Keir’s party about 20 points ahead of Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives in most opinion polls, with an election due in less than two years.
Leveling-Up secretary Michael Gove is also scheduled to speak at the same event on Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We have overseen the largest transfer of power from Whitehall to local leaders across England in modern times.
“This includes agreeing six landmark devolution deals such as North East, York and North Yorkshire, unlocking over £4.5bn in new investment for seven million people.
“More than 50% of England will now be covered by the devolution deal, meaning they have more say in local issues affecting them, such as housing and skills.”