Man of influence! Sunderland leader helps formulate Manifesto for Growth general election plan

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SUNDERLAND City Council leader Paul Watson has joined 22 of his counterparts across the country to formulate a plan on influencing political parties in the run-up to the 2015 general election.

Coun Watson, who chairs the Key Cities Group, met with colleagues at the Local Government Association’s annual conference in Bournemouth, in an attempt to boost economic growth UK-wide.

They discussed and agreed plans to make the case for more and stronger devolution as political parties develop their manifestos ahead of 2015.

Coun Watson said “As a group, we’ve recognised that the coming months will be a crucial time for making the case for the priorities set out in our Manifesto for Growth.

“So the opportunity to bring the group together was one not to be missed and has allowed us to make some key decisions.

“We’ve already made significant progress through our established governance structures, but there really is no substitute for getting everyone around a table to discuss next steps.”

The group’s priorities and its Manifesto for Growth can be viewed at its website,