Core Cities Meet With William Hague And Boris Johnson To Drive Devolution Agenda Forward

Local News

Ten leaders and mayors of Core Cities UK, the ‘Core Cities Cabinet’, met with William Hague MP, chair of The Cabinet Committee for Devolved Powers, to discuss a plan to drive forward devolution to the UK’s cities.

The Core Cities Cabinet demanded that devolution to the UK’s cities is delivered in the same time frame as Scottish devolution.

This meeting came hours after the Core Cities Cabinet met with Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The Mayor backed their calls for greater powers to UK cities across borders, avoiding the unnecessary extra bureaucratic layer of an English parliament.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, and Core Cities UK cabinet member for employment, skills and welfare said:

“I’m pleased that after strong and sustained lobbying, our requests for further talks on this hugely important issue have led to this meeting.

“Currently around 95 per cent of all finance raised in Leeds and other cities goes directly to national government coffers, with the money coming back having literally thousands of strings attached.

“Now is the time for us to have greater control over how finance is raised and invested locally so we can join up public services, and support jobs and growth.

“Our discussions have shown the increasing awareness and support across the political spectrum for greater devolution of powers away from Whitehall.

“It’s good to talk but what we really need to see is action to back up the words and a clear timetable that will result in Leeds city region and the other core cities releasing their true potential and transforming the lives and opportunities of millions of citizens.”

Core Cities’ urban areas deliver 28 per cent of the English, Welsh and Scottish economies combined and are home to 19 million, yet they underperform by the standards set by international competitors.

This is because, currently, cities only retain about 5 per cent of the total tax base raised in them which is damaging their economic potential.

According to the OECD, the level of taxes managed at the local or regional level is about 10 times greater in Canada, 7.5 in the US, 7 in Sweden, almost 6 in Germany, and over 5 times greater across the OECD on average.

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