The Centre for Cities welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement regarding the Northern Futures Project. This is yet another step towards building a truly cross-party consensus around the need to deliver greater devolution to cities and city-regions, and one that puts local consultation at the heart of its priorities.
With Labour and the Government having voiced their visions for reinvigorating and stimulating our city economies – particularly in the North – it is now time to focus on the details and how it will be achieved. For far too long, the rhetoric of empowerment has not been matched by genuine change, and the opportunity now exists to capitalise on this unprecedented momentum and unlock the potential of our cities, right across the country.
The longer we allow our cities to lag behind their international counterparts, held back by insufficient infrastructure, skills, housing and investment, the further we drift from achieving a sustainable economic recovery. The time to act is now. It is clear that it is only through combining strategic ambitions for stronger and more productive cities, with practical and radical pathways to action, that we will truly drive change.
As the Centre for Cities has long argued, we must give local leaders the powers and influence to deliver for their communities, building exciting and prosperous cities that offer attractive business environments and are great places to live. If the Northern Futures Project consults and engages widely at a local level, ensuring the knowledge and experience of city leaders is given a stake in its outcomes, then it will represent an encouraging step forward. The Centre hopes it will be the first of many.
Press and External Affairs Officer