Mayors call for further city-region devolution

Britain’s seven regional and city-wide Mayors will meet for the first time and urge the government to significantly increase the pace and scale of city-region devolution.

Meeting at City Hall in London, Sadiq Khan (London), Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester), Tim Bowles (West of England), Ben Houchen (Tees Valley), James Palmer (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region) and Andy Street (West Midlands) will call for further devolved control over public services including skills, training and apprenticeship services.

They will also call for a significant increase in fiscal devolution, with regions given greater control over existing taxes and the revenues they create, rather than having to rely on government grants.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “We may come from different parts of the country and represent different political parties but we all share the same belief – that the best way to secure ongoing prosperity across the country is by giving city regions more control. Many of the most dynamic and prosperous cities and regions in other countries have mayors with substantial powers and funding, and it is high time we followed suit. There is no doubt that, as regional Mayors, we are the best-placed people to deliver services to meet the specific need of local people – so we are calling on government to speed up the devolution process and give us more ability to improve peoples’ lives.”

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, added: “Through devolution we have the best chance we will ever get to do things differently and take control of our own future. It will be city regions working together that drive the quickest and most progressive change in the future which is why today’s meeting is so important. As we leave the EU it is vital that people here have the right skills to get on in life and drive our economy. The government must urgently increase the speed of devolution and fully devolve skills powers and the ability to allocate the apprenticeship levy. It time to give us the tools we need to change the lives of the people we represent.”