A NEW Greater Manchester- wide “super council” is set to go ahead after government ministers yesterday rubber stamped the scheme.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which will come into being from April 1, will be given new powers from Whitehall to work more effectively on areas including transport, regeneration and economic development.

The GMCA will replace the existing Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and a member from each of the 10 authorities will sit on the new body.

Former Communities Secretary John Denham originally agreed to the formation of the new authority before the last General Election and, following public consultation across the region, that has now been signed off by his successor, Eric Pickles.Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, said he was pleased the coalition Government had honoured the former Labour Government’s decision.

He said: “This is about driving the region forward and helping with job creation through a variety of economic means so I am really pleased that the government has agreed this is the way we should be going.

“It will benefit Greater Manchester as a whole and that is good news for Bolton.”

Locally, concerns were raised by Conservative group leader Cllr John Walsh who feared that having such a formal tie with other Greater Manchester authorities, especially larger centres such as Manchester, would harm Bolton’s economic recovery. Under the new arrangements a new body, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), will also be established to be responsible for transport across the Manchester City Region. It is expected to act like Transport for London which has helped revolutionise public transport across the capital.

Lord Peter Smith, chairman of AGMA, said: “In the current economic climate it is more important than ever that the region speaks with one voice so we can make the strongest possible case for resources and investment.

“The announcement also keeps Greater Manchester at the forefront of change, which is important if we are to rebalance the economy and ensure that not just the Manchester City Region, but the entire North of England achieves its full potential.”