Local leaders must prioritise housing to make devolution deals a success, according to John Healey.

The former housing minister voiced his concerns that housing was ‘conspicuous by its absence’ in the conversations around transferring powers to the regions.

Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Mr Healey called on Labour councils to take the initiative and shape housing policy rather than accepting Treasury proposals, as they have done so far in the devolution process.

He said: “Housing is conspicuous by its absence. The planning is almost absent in those devolution briefs.

“If we accept the case that the housing market is different in different areas, clearly we need to have some flexibility to do things differently.

“So, it’s a real challenge I think, particularly for those local authorities that are held by Labour, in those devolution areas.

“They need to make sure that we move now into a period of – instead of just accepting what George Osborne and Jim O’Neil, who have both now gone, are prepared to offer, we are now making a real claim about what could be done in those areas.”