This meeting marks the beginning of both regions and cities working closer together to define what powers need to be devolved in order to increase jobs, build skills and inclusively grow the UK economy.
The meeting, which took place as part of the Global Parliament of Mayors Annual Summit in Bristol, included leaders and mayors from 18 of the major cities and regions around the country and represented some of the most powerful politicians outside of Westminster.
These included Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Andy Burnham from Greater Manchester, Tim Bowles from the West of England and Andy Street from West Midlands.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “The UK is at a pivotal point as Brexit focuses minds on the way the country is run. As city leaders and regional mayors we are at the forefront of delivering change to our residents and know what works.
“If we are going to be more resilient economically as a country we, the cities and the regions, need more power to affect change and improve lives for our citizens. As the government moves towards its spending review we are looking to create real change in the relationship between spheres of governance in the country and call for greater fiscal devolution.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester combined authority, said: “Devolution is the answer to Brexit. It is crucial that government puts confidence in our regional economy so we are ready for whatever changes come from leaving the EU.
“Around the world, cities and city regions are the engine room of the modern economy. Our cities are financially limited by government and as a result we are currently punching below our weight. The government’s best policy now would be to get on and accelerate the power of devolution to cities outside of London so that this country can make a success of Brexit.”
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities, said: “Core Cities UK has recently published evidence that UK cities could generate an extra £100bn a year for the UK, that’s roughly the value of the UK car industry, if we raise their productivity to meet European and international standards. Our meeting with the M8 group discussed further ways we can secure more powers and freedoms for our cities and surrounding city regions so they can meet their full productivity potential and create growth for all our citizens.”