English devolution: Government urged 'don't forget Hull'

Humber Bridge in Hull Image copyright PA
Image caption The Humber Bridge is an icon in Hull, a city hoping for more power under new government plans

George Osborne's English devolution aspirations place the focus largely on Greater Manchester, the heart of the so-called Northern Powerhouse. But there is another city determined not to be left behind.

Home to more than 250,000 people, Kingston upon Hull is readying itself to become UK City of Culture in 2017.

Government ministers who awarded the accolade said Hull made a "compelling case" as "a city coming out of the shadows".

But Hull's council leader wants government recognition of the area to go further.

"We've been banging the drum for Hull for the last few years," Labour's Stephen Brady told the BBC.

"My message is, yes to Manchester and Leeds, but don't forget great cities like Hull.

"The Humber is the largest port complex in the country and the fourth largest in Europe and we continue to get forgotten about in the Northern Powerhouse, rail electrification etc. and it's not good enough."

Kingston Town

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hull's Maritime Museum celebrates the area's seafaring heritage
  • Christened Kingston upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the city is located in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, where the River Hull meets the Humber estuary
  • One of Hull's pubs is believed to have played a key role in the start of the English Civil War in 1642. In a room in Ye Olde White Harte, the decision was taken to refuse Charles I entry to the town, sparking the first siege of Hull
  • Hull is the only UK city with its own independent telephone network company. Unlike their more common red counterparts, the city's distinctive cream telephone boxes are not emblazoned with a crown
  • The city is the birthplace of politician William Wilberforce, a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. Poet Philip Larkin also made the city his home
  • Musically, the city has been home to a number of high-profile artists including Paul Heaton of The Beautiful South, Fatboy Slim and David Bowie's guitarist Mick Ronson
  • BBC News compiled this guide to the Hull dialect in 2005, as well as a list of 10 things you might not know about the city
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cream-coloured telephone boxes are unique to Hull, which will be UK City of Culture in 2017

Greater Manchester, a "blueprint" for other cities according to Mr Osborne, will elect a mayor and have control over an additional £2bn of public money.

The area's 10 council leaders will work with the new mayor and make decisions about housing, transport, planning and policing.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the new communities and local government secretary Greg Clark described the move as a "big breakthrough".

"Decisions about Hull and about Manchester, Leeds or Birmingham should be made by the people of those great cities who know and love their area, rather than troop up to London and plead for crumbs from the table," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption George Osborne's plans include more power for cities over housing, transport and policing

Mr Brady said he welcomed the plans, which will formally proposed as a "Cities Devolution bill" in the Queen's Speech later this month.

He was critical of the amount of time his city council had spent "putting bids together to civil servants in London" in the past.

"It seems to me it's all cap in hand, when other areas of the country can get that just by saying they're going to leave the union," he said.

"What we in Yorkshire say is 'no'. We want exactly the same as what's happening in Scotland."

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