Core Cities and Key Cities have met for the first time and issued a statement urging the Government to give more power to place.
UK’S BIGGEST CITIES COME TOGETHER FOR FIRST TIME, TO CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO WORK WITH THEM TO DELIVER A MORE PRODUCTIVE, INCLUSIVE ECONOMY
As leaders and mayors of the UK’s 36 biggest cities we have come together for the first time to call on Government to give our cities the freedoms they need to deliver more for our country at a critical moment in its history.
The places we are proud and privileged to represent are home to millions of people. We are pivotal to the UK economy generating almost a third of UK GDP. If the Government is committed to ensuring Brexit is a success, we are here to nurture the skills, talent and diversity to strengthen our country as we begin our journey to leave the EU.
But we cannot operate to our full capacity while the UK remains the most centralised state in the Western world. And we cannot compete properly against other European cities that have greater local control and do better for their nations as a result.
Although we have all welcomed the progress made on devolution, we still need more decisions to be made in City Hall, not Whitehall. We also welcome the Autumn Statement’s commitments on infrastructure investment, its flexibility over housing funds and its aims to raise productivity across the whole country. However, unless Government acts decisively to address the crisis we are experiencing in other areas like Adult Social Care, this powerful economic role could be undermined. It will also mean that other services critical to both our social and economic future, like the NHS, will continue to have pressure heaped upon them, leaving the most vulnerable in society to pay the price.
A new path is needed, one which recognises the twin economic and social roles of cities and empowers them to do more to deliver. Social policy and investment is not something we should do once we have secured growth, it is a driver of growth and productivity. When more people are in good health and secure work, when labour markets have the skills they need, the whole economy benefits.
Today we present the UK with an offer. We will deliver more inclusive and productive growth, more jobs, more housing and drive up living standards across more than half of the UK. We urge Government to work with us, provide our cities with the right tools, and we will get on with the job.
To enable us to deliver, we need:
- Measures to deal with the crisis in Adult Social Care, avoiding further pressures for the NHS and impacts on the most vulnerable
- Maximum local flexibility over the Housing Funds announced in the Autumn Statement, so we can increase the pace and scale of housebuilding.
- Fully devolved skills budgets to create employer-led, locally defined solutions including apprenticeships, increasing skills so old and young alike can play their part and benefit from the economy.
- Assurances that the forthcoming Industrial Strategy will be developed with us, is place-based and takes account of our distinctive sectors, needs and opportunities to unleash the true economic potential of our cities.
Our economies and communities have so much more to offer. As we rethink Britain’s place in the world, back at home it is time to abandon an out of date top-down, centralised state that is holding us back. Britain needs to develop a modern, stronger, more inclusive economy fit for purpose for tomorrow’s challenges. Our cities stand ready to deliver that economy and we hope that the Government is minded to work with us.