Climate change mitigation has risen on city leaders’ agendas

Throughout the survey, leaders identified climate change mitigation and air pollution as pressing challenges, and eight in ten would allocate more money to it if given the choice. However, leaders reported that barriers to funding and national policy barriers are hampering effective climate change mitigation on a local level.

Public transport is a priority

Almost every respondent (94 per cent) chose to allocate money to public transport in a hypothetical grant and 41 per cent of respondents stated that they were encouraging bus travel to improve air quality. Moreover, transport is an overall policy priority for almost one third of the city leaders (29 per cent).

Housing supply remains a challenge

This year, almost half of the leaders surveyed (44 per cent) said that challenges related to housing supply and affordability count to their top three overall policy priorities. The high cost of housing is a persistent problem that many cities share.

Funding and resources are needed

Leaders consistently reported that the lack of access to funding and resources is hampering the achievements of their major priorities: inclusive growth, transport, the quality of public services and climate change mitigation.

City leaders are relying on whoever wins the General Election to deliver on their pledges to end austerity and give cities the resources they need to tackle the issues they face.

Leaders do not feel supported by the national government

When asked how well leaders feel that their cities are supported on the national level, the majority (62 per cent) said they were unsatisfied. Just one in ten urban city leaders is satisfied with the support they get from national government.

Next steps

The opportunities and challenges outlined in this survey should serve as a starting point for shaping the work in Whitehall and the ever-changing relationship between cities and national government.

The findings give a good foundation for calling for more collaboration on solving the big challenges facing our cities today.

Centre for Cities and Arup have conducted this second annual survey to continue to bring the perspectives of city leaders to the fore in today’s discourse. We will continue to listen to and work with cities to provide evidence-based advice to make their places more successful economically, better places to live, and better connected to one another.