Metro mayors must support devolution agenda, think tank says

IPPR North has called on the six elected Metro Mayors and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to unite to call for sweeping new powers over education, health and employment, with strong local checks-and-balances.

The think tank maintained that the mayors should be vital players in ‘Team GB’ post-Brexit, in attracting investment and forging trade links, as Britain is set to seek new trade deals.

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “We’ve heard a lot about strong and stable leadership in this election, and we need this sort of leadership locally too, to drive inward-investment and deliver great public services.

“Together the London Mayor and England’s new Metro Mayors will represent almost twenty million people, far more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. Working together, they will be a powerful voice for England.

“Using ‘soft powers’, they can act as advocates for their city-regions on the global stage, helping win investment and broker trade globally.

“But while these soft powers are important, to really compete, Mayors need the kind of fiscal powers enjoyed by American mayors, German federal states and French régions. Even London only controls seven per cent of the tax it raises, compared to 50 per cent in New York City.

“With powerful local checks-and-balances, Mayors can reboot the devolution revolution and free the civil service to focus on Brexit.”