Core cities make devolution demand

14 May 15
Ten of the UK’s largest cities have today launched a ‘devolution declaration’ setting out demands for the new government to deliver on city devolution.

Issuing the ‘Modern Charter for Local Freedom’ in London today, the Core Cities Group called for a ‘radical modernisation’ of the UK state, saying the current system meant cities and the places around them largely under-performed by international standards.

The charter said there were proposals for devolution that had already been draw up and cities who want it and can demonstrate they were able to deliver should be supported with new freedoms.

The members of the Core Cities Group are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The charter highlighted that independent forecasts showed greater freedoms for the eight core cities in England alone could deliver a £222bn boost to the economy and create 1.16 million jobs by 2030.

It called on the Conservative government to take immediate action to reach a devolution settlement by including legislation in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech to allow for devolution to cities that would also allow different governance structures in different parts of the country.

It also called for a new independent devolution commission to be created as part of a ‘transparent and robust’ localism programme. This would assess the readiness of areas for extra powers, but would operate under a presumption in favour of devolution.

In addition, the government should put in place a process to consider greater fiscal powers at the local level, alongside the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Launching the charter in Westminster today, Core Cities chair and leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said that if the government was serious about economic growth and deficit reduction, it should immediately enter a dialogue with cities.

‘Our offer is to work with them to rebalance, reform and renew Britain,’ he said. ‘Rebalance and grow the economy to create more jobs and eliminate the deficit. Reform public services to improve outcomes and reduce costs through better coordination of funding and services, focusing on people and place. Renew democracy to give people a major stake in their own future.’

  • Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith Ugwumadu joined Public Finance International and Public Finance online as a reporter after stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express. Currently, she writes about public finance, public services and economics.

    Follow her on @JudithUgwumadu_

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