The directly-elected metro mayors are responsible for developing strategies for growing their city-regions’ economies and have significant powers and funding for issues such as housing, local transport, skills, strategic planning, adult education and business support. Their exact responsibilities depend on the details of the deal agreed with central government.
Metro mayors were created to provide visible and accountable leadership for city-regions. They were introduced as part of the Government’s devolution agenda, which has a clear economic rationale of addressing the longstanding underperformance of the UK’s major cities.
Centre for Cities has published a report on how government should reorganise and simplify local government in England, to create accountable, capable institutions led by directly-elected leaders with the full set of economic powers available to local government at present.
Metro mayors represent powerful conduits of local views and knowledge in areas like transport, planning and skills. Throughout the pandemic, metro mayors have been prominent in negotiations with central government on local lockdowns and the Covid-19 response. The pandemic has shown their ability to help to co-ordinate activities at scale, supporting the procurement and delivery of PPE, as in Greater Manchester for example.
Centre for Cities commissioned polling in 2021 by Savanta ComRes to gather information on people’s views about devolution, the office of the mayor and their policy priorities.
This polling found:
On 6 May 2021, around 10 million people in England voted to choose a metro mayor in Greater London, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, West of England and West Yorkshire. We hosted a City Minutes podcast exploring what the election results meant for cities in England and for urban politics in general.
Each city-region faces a different combination of challenges in the post-pandemic landscape. We’ve summarised both the immediate and longer-term priorities that each elected mayor should focus on in order to support the economic recovery of their area.
Winning the election is only the beginning. Now that the metro mayors have been elected, they must turn their attention to the biggest challenges facing their city-region's economies.
Andy Burnham has been re-elected as the Mayor of Greater Manchester. Now he must build back better from the pandemic and improve the economy and people’s living standards for the long-term.
Kathrin Enenkel sets out three policy priorities for the re-elected Mayor of London to focus on in order to build back better from the pandemic and ensure London excels in the long run.
After successfully being re-elected as Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram now needs to lead the area in the recovery from Covid-19, creating jobs and long-term prosperity.
Tracy Brabin has been elected as the first Mayor of West Yorkshire. She must now hit the ground running to build back better from the pandemic and tackle the biggest issues facing the city region.
As the first Labour Mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Nik Johnson should focus on reducing inequalities in the combined authority ensuring everyone can benefit from the growth in the area.
Last week, voters in the West of England elected Dan Norris as their metro mayor. Researcher Guilherme Rodrigues takes a closer look at what the mayor will have to do to raise public awareness of his role and support the city-region in its future growth.
The West Midlands has been hit hard by the pandemic and Andy Street will need to focus on skills, businesses and transport to build back better.
Reflecting on the results of the elections to the devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales, Anthony Breach proposes that politicians should take inspiration from the popularity and success of the English metro mayors and embark on a wave of urban devolution.
The first West Yorkshire metro mayor should focus on education, transport and city centre Covid recovery.
Senior Analyst Anthony Breach provides in-depth analysis on the results of the 2021 metro mayoral elections, warning that a voting system change to first past the post would be detrimental to the devolution agenda.
Our briefings set out three policy priorities for the elected metro mayor on the biggest challenges facing their city-region. Beyond the immediate challenge of recovering from Covid-19, these recommendations address short-term and long-term strategic issues to help the new metro mayor affect change in their first term.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing the West Yorkshire economy.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing Liverpool City Region's economy.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's economy.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing Greater Manchester's economy.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing the economy of the West Midlands.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing the economy of the West of England.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing Tees Valley's economy.
This briefing sets out three policy priorities for the new metro mayor after the election to address the biggest issues facing London's economy.
Guest experts shared their views in the lead up to the 2021 mayoral elections.
Events of the past year mean the 2021 mayoral elections will be dominated by what voters think and feel about the places where they live.
Raj Kandola, Head of Policy for Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, outlines what kind of Metro Mayor the West Midlands needs as the city region begins to recover from Covid-19.
Jonn Elledge reflects on the findings of Centre for Cities' new polling to gauge current public perceptions on metro mayors and devolution.
Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce outlines priorities for the incoming metro mayor to make their term of office a success.
England's incoming metro mayors will face challenges and opportunities that necessitate decisive action and collaboration.
Despite some progress, UK cities still have significantly fewer powers and funding than counterparts in other developed countries. We have long argued for greater devolution of the right resources and responsibilities so that cities can do more to reach their potential.
The candidates have prepared proposals and new ideas for their cities. Anthony Breach sets out what they mean for cities and urban politics more generally.
People up and down the country have one clear message for Government: Give us the powers and resources to make the right decisions for our areas.
Writing for UK in a Changing Europe, Andrew Carter argues that a post-Brexit England should shift power down to directly elected mayors.
Metro mayors have already changed the English constitution, but they need to do more than just win elections to be able to speak on behalf of the public.
Promises to move civil servants out of London are not good enough – if the Government is serious about levelling up it must trust local leaders to make decisions for their communities.
The recent stand off between Andy Burnham and the Government shouldn't be seen as a failure of devolution, it shows that it's working. But there's still more to be done.
This report sets out how the Government should use the devolution white paper to reorganise and simplify local government to level up the country.
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Save the date for this in conversation event with Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Join Centre for Cities to hear Mayor Andy Street's reflections on the new trailblazer devolution deals.
Join Centre for Cities to hear Mayor Andy Burnham's reflections on the new trailblazer devolution deals.
The Government’s growth-oriented policies are increasingly focused on big cities, while levelling up worries about redistribution. This is a helpful distinction.
Centre for Cities' Realising Regional Growth conference series returns for 2023 with this first event taking place in Newcastle.
While London’s stuttering presents an additional productivity challenge, it should be possible for policy makers to deal with two separate productivity problems simultaneously.
Weak investment in intangibles may be one of the explanations behind London’s weak productivity growth.
London's productivity growth has stalled since 2007, explaining a large part of the UK's 'productivity puzzle' and leaving it trailing behind its global peers.
London’s productivity growth has plummeted in comparison to its international competitors, costing the UK economy tens of billions of pounds a year.
The first blog of this series shows that London’s moved from leader to laggard in terms of the UK’s productivity growth, costing billions to the national economy.