Leicester mayor set to be given new powers
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby is set to be given a raft of new powers over public transport and regeneration.
It could see him deciding the routes and frequency of buses in Leicester, and the price of travel tickets.
He could also get powers to decide which buildings are compulsory purchased, to make way for new developments to regenerate the city.
The Government will decide later this year what powers to grant the city's most senior politician, and those holding similar roles around Britain.
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Sir Peter said: "At the moment, bus companies run the profitable routes, then ask councils for money to subsidise vital but less profitable or loss-making routes.
"It's a system that needs to change.
"With the same powers as the Mayor of London, I would be able to set the standards of service across the city which bus operators would have to agree to if they wanted to operate in Leicester."
In practice, this would mean firms agreeing to run regular unprofitable routes in return for the chance to earn money from profitable routes in the city.
Sir Peter said he was considering what other powers he would be asking the Government to consider giving city mayors. This could include responsibility for skills and apprenticeships, and money to invest in high-speed broadband and other economic infrastructure.
Martin Traynor, chief executive of the Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said he would like to see the mayor given tougher powers to force owners of dilapidated buildings to sell up.
He said: "The perfect example is the building opposite Curve, which once housed a sex club. It is not in keeping with the modern Cultural Quarter, but the council's powers are not enough to be able to force the owners to sell it to the council."
London mayor Boris Johnson has already backed calls to give city mayors around the country extra powers.
He said: "My view is that you need to run the mass transit system, you need to have democratic accountability over policing, you need to have a housing function and you need to have some role in education.
"It is pretty difficult to have a general remit of delivering economic prosperity and improving the lives of everybody in the city unless there is a greater role in delivering on education."
Sir Peter already holds power over housing in the city.
And voters are due to elect a police and crime commissioner to run Leicestershire Constabulary later this year.
Education powers currently rest mainly with head teachers and governors.