Core Cities leaders meeting with Hague and Johnson to drive devolution

Liverpool was represented today at a meeting of the leaders and mayors of Core Cities UK, the ‘Core Cities Cabinet’ with William Hague MP, chair of The Cabinet Committee for Devolved Powers, to discuss a plan to drive forward devolution to the UK’s cities.

The Core Cities Cabinet, including Liverpool’s Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for housing Councillor Ann O’Byrne, demanded that devolution to the UK’s cities is delivered in the same time frame as Scottish devolution.

This meeting came hours after the Core Cities Cabinet met with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The Mayor backed their calls for greater powers to UK cities across borders, avoiding the unnecessary extra bureaucratic layer of an English parliament.

Sir Richard Leese, Chair of Core Cities UK, said: “A programme of devolution for Scotland has been set out, but the national agenda for devolution is simply not radical enough.

“The devolution we need has to be at the level of the city and even the neighbourhood. Any legislation must make provision for the whole of the UK, and specifically for its cities.

“Although the timing should not restrict the promises to Scotland being delivered, we would like to see this within the same time frame for the whole of the UK.

“That is why we are pleased the Government is taking notice as in an increasingly competitive global economy, the UK’s big cities are Britain’s best bet.”

Core Cities’ urban areas deliver 28% of the English, Welsh and Scottish economies combined and are home to 19 million, yet they underperform by the standards set by international competitors. This is because, currently, cities only retain about 5% of the total tax base raised in them which is damaging their economic potential. According to the OECD, the level of taxes managed at the local or regional level is about 10 times greater in Canada, 7.5 in the US, 7 in Sweden, almost 6 in Germany, and over 5 times greater across the OECD on average.