Statement in response to the Deputy Prime Minister's 'Northern Futures' speech at the Leeds Economic Forum today

Joint statement from:

Cllr Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council

Cllr Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council

Here in the North we have been collaborating to build our great cities into an economic powerhouse over two decades. We welcome further high-level recognition that our great northern cities are engines of national growth and the commitment of government to work with us on delivering this.

The support which is being offered to support our ambitions to grow our economies while reforming public services to increase people’s independence and reduce costs is also positive.

Our cities, along with the other Core Cities – England’s largest outside London – have been working closely together for many years to make the case for the greater freedoms and investment which will unleash our full potential of our great cities. We have put forward a series of ambitious ideas and will continue to do so.

We would of course be happy to have constructive conversations with the Deputy Prime Minister and others about how to move this agenda forwards.

However, we would question why this mantle is being taken up now by the DPM with less than 10 months until the General Election when so much more could have been achieved in the last four years.

If this is to be more than words, it is important that we push on with building the northern powerhouse as soon as possible.

Notes to editors: It is worth noting that the Core Cities and their surrounding areas are 27% of the UK economy. London is 22%. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London. For more information please visit http://www.corecities.com/.