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Core strength: England's big eight cities say all we need is (our) cash

Powers that be gather in Liverpool to discuss powers that might be

Published on June 18th 2014.

Core strength: England's big eight cities say all we need is (our) cash

All eight leaders of England's cash-strapped "Core Cities" are gathering in Liverpool today to discuss ways to break what they see as financial strangleholds imposed on them by central government.

The occasion is one of the signature events of the International Festival For Business: the BT Global City Leaders Summit at St George's Hall.

The Core Cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield - point to international counterparts (Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, for example) who, they say, have enjoyed huge amounts of economic success due to having the policy and tax freedoms to boost their local economies.

Core Cities’ urban areas already deliver 27 percent of the English economy and are home to 16 million people. Yet,  leaders claim, their own prosperity is being hindered by Whitehall syphoning off 95 per cent of funds raised locally.  They are calling for powers and funds devolved to drive their own economic growth. 

Leaders from Birmingham, Alabama, for example, who are attending the summit, retain a lot more locally raised taxes than Birmingham UK. According to the OECD, the level of taxes managed at the local or regional level is about 10 times greater in Canada, seven and a half times in the US, seven in Sweden, almost six in Germany, and over five times greater across the OECD on average. 

Mayor Joe Anderson will lead a working lunch with guests from major UK and overseas cities, alongside Lord Heseltine. The discussion will focus on the powers that cities need to help drive economic growth.potential. 

Greater freedoms to decide how to spend the money generated in cities, such as property taxes, would help the Core Cities meet their target of outperforming the national economy, and becoming financially self-sustaining. Independent forecasts, they say, demonstrate this could mean an additional £222 billion and 1.3 million jobs for the country by 2030.

"That is like adding the entire economy of Denmark to the UK".

Mayor Joe wants to bring home a similar bacon. He said: "Cities are engines of growth and they are critical to the global economic recovery. At this summit we will debate the powers and responsibilities our cities need to deliver the best economic future for our communities.

“Importantly leaders from major cities across the UK will join us in Liverpool, to exchange ideas with the international cities attending today that could help us all in giving our cities the freedoms they need to grow. This is very much a two way street with the Core Cities sharing ideas and concepts as well as hearing about ones that have worked overseas.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of  Manchester City Council and chairman of the Core Cities Cabinet said: "This summit is a great opportunity to highlight the success devolution can bring. You only have to look at the success a city like Barcelona has achieved by being given the freedom to make decisions based on local need and circumstance.

“England’s cities need to be given the powers they need to compete or we will fall behind the international cities visiting today.” 

The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read online here

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AnonymousJune 19th 2014.

Have they elected a chair yet or has Joe already stormed out?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Give Leese a chanceJune 19th 2014.

Yeah, it's the Manc dude

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