Mayor Marvin Rees has joined the leaders and mayors of the UK’s most powerful cities in calling on the government for increased powers and investment to help Bristol achieve its potential.
The UK’s most economically powerful cities outside London can strengthen the UK’s labour market and industrial sectors, post Brexit, if they are given enough powers and freedoms – according to a new report published yesterday (Tuesday 12 September).
Core Cities UK, the representative voice of the UK’s ten biggest cities outside London, has launched its own green paper: Invest Reform Trust which calls on the Government to rebalance the UK and adopt a local focus to policy to ensure a stronger and fairer Britain.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, visited Westminster yesterday to launch the report with leaders of the other core cities.
He said: “Bristol is consistently rated as one of the best places to live and visit in the UK. With its wealth of culture, together with its attractiveness, friendliness and accessibility, it has a visitor economy in excess of £1.3billion that supports both leisure and business tourism.
“However, we have faced significantly reduced government funding, while the cost of providing vital services to more people has risen substantially. This is a huge challenge and at the same time, we’re determined to deliver on our priorities and make Bristol a more equal city where no-one is left behind and where there is less of a need to rely on the council doing everything it once did.
“The paper we launched yesterday highlights how, by building a better Bristol through greater investment and the ability to make more decisions locally, we, along with the other core cities, can help deliver for the nation.
“So far, ministers have not involved us in plans for the economy after Brexit – so I, with the other core city leaders, am taking the opportunity to start that discussion, and we are reminding ministers we want to be part of an inclusive conversation.”
Cities want a new settlement which sees power passing from central government to local communities, allowing cities to take back control of service provision and help rebalance the economy by supporting economic growth.
International evidence shows that cities that have the most control over taxes raised in their area tend to be the most productive, but the UK is significantly out of step with international competitors in the power given to cities and we are still one of the most highly centralised countries in the world.
Productivity of UK cities lags behind competitors and boosting the productivity of the UK’s Core Cities to the UK’s national average would increase the country’s national income by £70-£90 billion a year, equivalent to the total education budget. This would be a critical boost to the UK’s economic success.
Core Cities UK’s green paper also proposes that cities play a bigger role in boosting the UK’s international trading links, given the importance of city-to-city relationships in boosting trade and investment.
It calls for a new partnership with the Department for International Trade to develop an Urban Trade programme across the UK’s cities and more of a role for cities in trade missions.
A copy of the green paper can be viewed and downloaded by visiting https://www.corecities.com/invest-reform-trust-core-cities-green-paper-stronger-fairer-britain