11 Jan 2015

Core Cities UK announces national devolution summit


The leaders and mayors of the UK’s Core Cities have agreed to hold a major national devolution summit in Glasgow next month, making the case for more freedoms for the UK's cities.

Timed to coincide with the launch of the Smith Commission into devolution to Scotland, and to influence politicians ahead of the General Election, the summit - taking place in Glasgow on 9th February - will see the launch of a ‘Charter for Local Freedom’ that will set out the powers and freedoms cities, towns and other places will demand from whoever makes up the next government, and a new report from leading think tank ResPublica.

The charter is designed to be a 21st century version of the Magna Carta which is 800 years old in June this year.

The new report from ResPublica aims to set out a ‘roadmap’ for devolution to cities and their regions, to deliver radical and ambitious change to benefit local people and economies.

The summit, which will attract national politicians and decision-makers, was agreed at today’s Core Cities Cabinet held in Leeds.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Leeds City Council Leader Councillor Keith Wakefield said:

“I was delighted to welcome my Core Cities colleagues to Leeds today for a very productive meeting. We are all firmly committed to seeing the drive for devolution become a reality and to help progress the debate further we have arranged to hold a summit about it in Glasgow next month.

“Real and meaningful devolution is the key to transforming the economies of our cities and wider regions, opening up opportunities and improving the lives of millions of people as well as bringing about a much-needed rebalancing and strengthening of the national economy.

“The summit will discuss the issues around devolution and will hopefully demonstrate what it will mean for people in real terms, so we are all very much looking forward to it.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson CBE, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, added: “I’m proud that Glasgow will host the Core Cities UK Devolution Summit.

“A centralising, power-grabbing Scottish Government is as much a barrier to achieving optimal economic growth and tackling inequality as an over-bearing Whitehall.

“All political parties in Scotland should urgently commit to devolving the new Smith Commission powers to Scotland’s major cities and communities, starting with Glasgow, which is best placed to benefit. Merely transferring powers between one parliament and another does not advance the cities agenda.”

Core Cities UK Cabinet Chair and Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese, said:

"City devolution is one of the key political issues of our times and our summit is a fantastic chance to find out more about the growing movement to give our cities the freedoms they need and deserve. All the political parties must make this a major manifesto commitment.

"Our cities have made great strides in the last two decades, but they could do so much more. Between us, we deliver 28% of the combined economic output of England, Wales and Scotland, and are home to almost 19 million people.

"Independent forecasts demonstrate that the eight English Core Cities alone could generate an extra £222bn and 1.3m jobs for the country by 2030. That's the equivalent of adding the entire economy of Denmark to UK plc. With Glasgow and Cardiff on side we could achieve even more. I'd urge anyone interested in city devolution and the future of the UK to attend our summit and hear more about how devolution can help create jobs, build homes and change lives."

Philip Blond, Director of ResPublica, added: “We are on the cusp of an historic change - only full devolution to Britain's cities, councils and communities can address the vast and growing imbalance between London and the South East and the rest of the UK's cities and regions.

“The Scottish referendum ignited people’s desire for change - the only hope for the wholesale transformation of our largest cities is to devolve to them, allowing them once more to grow and compete on a global level.

“We at ResPublica are committed to the restoration of our great English city states and we urge the Government and opposition to fully devolve to make this transformation possible.”

To find out more about the summit, please contact Stuart Rainsbury at Core Cities UK via email, s.rainsbury@corecities.com


For more information contact Will Mapplebeck, strategic communications manager, Core Cities UK. w.mapplebeck@corecities.com or 07932 568571.

Notes for editors

Core Cities UK consists of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. Core Cities UK is a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of our cities in driving economic growth and the case for city devolution. We represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London along with Glasgow and Cardiff. For more information please visit www.corecities.com

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team