YORK’s council leader has welcomed his party’s pledge to create economic powerhouses away from London.

Speaking in Leeds yesterday, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the national economy needed to be rebalanced away from London, and pledged a Labour Government’s support for councils trying to foster economic growth.

Now York’s Labour council leader James Alexander has thrown his weight behind the plans, and said: “I’m really pleased to hear the direction Ed Miliband is taking in advance of the general election with a genuine move to give more power to councils in determining their economic futures.”

A key proposal from the Labour report is allowing councils to retain all increases in business rates, while deducting the same amount from the amount councils receive in grant from the Government.

Cllr Alexander said that had it been implemented already, such a move could have brought millions more into City of York Council’s coffers, including an extra £7 million per year in business rates from the Monks Cross Vangarde site alone.