Manchester City Council

Cities - the Future

Going to go back to the beginning of the week which saw me on the 7.15 from Piccadilly down to Euston for the first meeting of the LGAs new City Regions Board, the first time the national body for local government will have had as part of its structures something looking specifically at our major urban areas.


There is now a general consensus that if our economy is to prosper, it is cities that will provide the driving force. That's not to say that other smaller places won't make a serious contribution but it really is the agglomeration effects that come with scale that can accelerate growth.  However, cities in this country don't have the tools they need to do the job.

There have been some tentative steps towards devolution of economic development powers through city deals and only this week Ed Miliband committed himself to supporting far greater levels of devolution based on a report done by Michael Heseltine for the present government.  The City Board will be working on providing the evidence for moving powers and resources from Whitehall to the city regions, in Manchester 's case to the Combined Authority.

Cities Minister Greg Clarke spoke at Monday's meeting and agreed to an ongoing dialogue with his officials.  He was followed by eminent economist Jim O'Neill talking about the RSA's City Growth Commission which we agreed to support.  We agreed an ambitious work programme prioritising work on skills and employment, international trade and public service reform, but also included an international challenge element of using successful practice in other countries to make the case for change here.

The Board replaces a body called the Urban Commission which in a decade and a half's existence achieved precisely nothing.  I expect the new body to be making a difference in its first twelve months.


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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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