Our 2015 Manifesto

Time to Act to build the UK cities of tomorrow.

Press release published on 20 September 2014

The Centre for Cities think tank today launched its 2015 General Election ‘Urban Nation’ Manifesto – a commanding and practical vision for building a stronger UK national economy based on more powerful, better-resourced cities.

At its heart, the Manifesto calls for the establishment of a Cities and Prosperity Actin the first year of the new Parliament, if not before, which will seek to overcome the barriers currently holding back UK cities from realising their potential. The Act would introduce a presumption in favour of devolution, and legislate to enable governance, finance, skills, housing and transport reforms – as the five most critical levers to drive growth and renewal in UK cities

“The UK’s economy is being held back by the underperformance of many of its cities, which for too long have suffered from a lack of power and funding compared to their international counterparts. It has never been clearer that the status quo, whereby decisions and funding are tightly held in Westminster, must come to an end if we are to drive long-term economic prosperity,” said Ms Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities.

“The Cities and Prosperity Act will transform the UK economy by laying the foundation for a new relationship between UK cities and Central Government. It will put fiscal devolution and the decentralisation of other significant powers from Whitehall immediately on the table for those city-regions with the capacity and appetite to drive change, and will support and encourage others to transition sustainably towards assuming a greater role in fuelling economic growth.”

The Act focuses on building democratically accountable leadership and institutions at a city-region level, through the formation of combined authorities – with the scale and the resources to coordinate and drive local growth.These combined authorities would be given London-style powers and responsibilities, including:

  • the requirement to develop a strategic and integrated economic plan to which they are accountable to their communities and National Government;
  • increased flexibility and control over fiscal revenue, including Business Rates and Council Tax, and the ability to raise additional funding for economic growth projects through the introduction of new taxes agreed with residents and businesses;
  • the formation of Transport for London-equivalent bodies with strategic and operational control over public transport delivery and funding;
  • greater influence in the commissioning of targeted employment services to better meet the needs of local job-seekers, workers and businesses; and
  • strategic oversight and responsibility over land use and housing delivery, including authority over Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) assets and the ability to acquire land for housing and regeneration purposes.

“The enormous amount of interest we have seen right across the political spectrum over the past few months in UK cities, and their disparities in economic performance, has been extremely welcome. This Manifesto offers a clear path forward for political parties to turn their rhetoric into action, and demonstrate their commitment to building the strong and robust urban nation we need for future prosperity.”

For press enquiries, please contact:

Sophie Gaston, Press and External Affairs, Centre for Cities

Phone: 0207 803 4316 | s.gaston@centreforcities.org

Contact us

Press and External Affairs Officer