Core cities cabinet call for more devolution for cities

A powerful lobby group for the 10 cities at the centre of the largest economic areas in the UK outside London has called on the government to deliver more devolution for UK cities and nations one year on from the anniversary of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

The Core Cities Cabinet – which is made up of the elected city Leaders and Mayors of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – met in Cardiff on the opening day of the Rugby World Cup where the call for further devolution was made.

City of Cardiff Council leader Phil Bale said: “One year on from the Scottish Independence Referendum we want to clearly state that the best way to reboot our local economies – and rebalance the British economy – is to give more power and responsibility to cities and city-regions.

“But this is about more than just economic growth. Austerity has seen our ability to deliver services undermined. Many ordinary people feel under assault. At the same time the idea of a Westminster government knowing what is best for everyone is being challenged.

“We have a duty to respond. We believe the only way of reforming public services to meet this challenge is for central government to share the powers and responsibilities with the people who understand the challenges and the opportunities facing their cities and their citizens.”

The UK’s shortfall in productivity can also be solved by greater devolution, according to a new report from Core Cities, ‘Unlocking the Power of Place’ which demonstrates how a different approach to Government spending over this parliamentary term – specifically through the Comprehensive Spending Review – could transform the UK’s prospects.

Core Cities Cabinet is calling for a joined up, ‘place-based’ multi-year approach to the Government’s spending plans, so UK investment can be deployed in the best way possible to drive growth, rebalance the economy and contribute to sustainable deficit reduction across the UK’s biggest cities.

The UK’s core cities account for 25% of the economy, although output per capita remains below the national and EU average in each city bar one.

Core Cities Chair and Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese, said: “Our new report sets out how our cities can become self-sustaining, rivalling any of our global competitors, strengthening the UK through its cities.

“As long as the UK state remains one of the most highly centralised democracies in the world, our cities will remain stuck in second gear, unable to realise their full potential, create sustainable prosperity and change millions of lives for the better. If the core cities were to close the gap in terms of output and match the UK average, an additional £66 billion would be added to the UK economy each and every year.”

Liverpool Waterfront