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England’s metro-mayors meet to discuss more devolution

Words: Laura Edgar

The seven regional and city-wide mayors from across England met today to issue a call for the government to ‘significantly’ increase the pace and scale of devolution to boost economic growth.

Further devolution, for the mayors, would also improve public services.

Today (1 November) in London is the first in a series of planned meeting to be attended by all of England’s metro mayors.

They maintain that Britain remains one of the most centralised states in the west and that devolution is key to unlocking future growth.

According to a joint statement from the mayors, together their regions account for nearly 39 per cent of all British growth, up from 35 per cent in 1997.

The mayors are:

  • Sadiq Khan – London (Lab)
  • Andy Burnham – Greater Manchester (Lab)
  • Tim Bowles – West of England (Con)
  • Ben Houchen – Tees Valley (Con)
  • James Palmer – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (Con)
  • Steve Rotherham – Liverpool City Region (Lab)
  • Andy Street – West Midlands (Con)

They want a “significant increase” in fiscal devolution and greater control over existing taxes and the revenues they create, so they don’t have to rely on government grants.

“Greater fiscal devolution will give cities the tools and incentives to increase growth and job creation.”

Steve Rotheram said: “Devolution is the single most important means of achieving a more economically balanced and prosperous UK. It transfers powers, resources and autonomy to the places that will be our country’s most important growth engines. It is vitally important that the government sustains and accelerates its commitment to devolution.”

James Palmer said: “Though we represent very different areas many of the challenges we face are similar and there is great worth in us all coming together to speak with one voice when we can.

"For too long power has been overly centralised in this country. We all agree on the need for further powers to be devolved to enable us to play the fullest possible role in enabling the areas we represent to flourish.

"The creation of the new mayors is a key part of the process, but it’s not the end of the process. The achievement of creating seven new mayors needs to be built on through further devolution."