Core Cities call for city devolution focus

UK’s leading provincial cities demand greater autonomy.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore will today join civic leaders from around the country  to sign a declaration calling for the country’s largest cities to have a greater say in their own affairs.

The Core Cities Cabinet comprises politicians from Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield, calling on reforms in the way local authorities collect revenue as well as the need for working together on such projects as HS2.

Later today, the Core Cities and Glasgow will call for the Government to focus on devolution to cities, rather than just regions, to drive UK growth and boost jobs. Meeting in Glasgow for the first time, the Core Cities Cabinet which comprises the leaders of the eight largest cities outside of London, will issue a joint declaration with Glasgow adding their voices to those who believe that devolving more power to cities is a more radical constitutional agenda than establishing a border at Carlisle.

Greater freedoms will give the UK’s cities the power to create more jobs and grow their economies and the Core Cities and Glasgow and united in challenging the centralising tendencies of all governments, whether in Westminster or Holyrood.

Both sides of the border, the UK’s cities need better connectivity rather than greater separation and the Core Cities and Glasgow will continue to work together in the belief that a new age of cities offers a truly radical and exciting vision for a wealthier, fairer and more balanced Britain.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and chair of the Core Cities Cabinet said:  “The Core Cities and Glasgow have a great deal in common and we share a proud history of industrial ingenuity. We are here in Glasgow today to talk about our shared future as drivers of the UK economy. Both the Core Cities and Glasgow are in favour of radical constitutional change but do not believe this should be left to be a tussle between parliaments. Instead greater freedoms to our nation’s cities should be granted, starting with the devolution of property taxes.

“There is also a desperate need to build better connectivity and by working together, for example to deliver HS2, we will make life better for people and businesses in every UK city. This should be our shared vision.”

Glasgow City Council leader Councillor Gordon Matheson, added “The fact of the matter is that Glasgow has more in common with cities such as Liverpool and Manchester than we do with much of the rest of Scotland. I welcome this powerful intervention against separatism from my fellow city leaders. The issues they face from an over-dominant London economy and government centralism are the same that Glasgow faces.

“The answer is to radically devolve power and resources to city regions across Britain so we can grow our economies and make a bigger contribution to GDP; not to erect a border at Carlisle, create huge uncertainty over currency and regulatory frameworks, and turn people from Newcastle into foreigners.”