Eight metro mayors from across England have signed letters to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt calling on them to fully implement Lord Heseltine's Empowering English Cities report.
In an open letter, published below, the mayors of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, London, North of Tyne, Tees Valley, West of England and West Midlands, call on the next Prime Minister to support a Mayor's Pledge.
Lord Heseltine's report was launched at Birmingham Town Hall earlier this month and included 20 recommendations for further devolution to allow regions and cities to deliver growth, jobs and housing for the country.
Launch of the Empowering English Cities report. From left: Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer, Lord Heseltine, Joanne McCartney Deputy Mayor of London, Tim Bowles Mayor of the West of England, Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands, Steve Rotherham Mayor of Liverpool City Region and Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester
The letter sent to the two leadership contenders states:
After the launch of the Empowering English Cities report by Lord Heseltine we invite you to commit to the “Mayors’ Pledge” – giving us the powers we need to make our city regions the greatest places to live and work in the world. This Pledge commits you to taking the 20 recommendations in the report and tasking civil servants with implementing them as quickly as possible if you take office.
We are clear that the new Prime Minister needs to think broader than Westminster - to the success story that is our English cities and regions. Devolution over the past 40 years has had a huge role to play in growing opportunities and life prospects of the citizens of our city regions.
Lord Heseltine worked at length with all the elected Combined Authority mayors to understand the challenges we face. The conclusion of the report is that there have definitely been successes in the creation of CAs but the approach has been scattergun and vulnerable to the mood of Government.
The next Prime Minister when thinking about the United Kingdom shouldn’t just think England, Wales and Scotland but also consider huge populations such as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Greater London, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North of Tyne, Sheffield City Region, Tees Valley, the West Midlands and the West of England.
We all have different powers, control large budgets and have the ability to improve the lives of millions of people. To achieve this we should all be granted greater fiscal freedoms, control over the services we deliver and decisions on future investments, if we are to unlock local economic resources and drive innovation.
The results are 20 recommendations that demand real, immediate change at a national and regional level to supercharge our devolved authorities, make our cities competitive on the international stage, and create a more balanced UK by releasing regional potential.
The recommendations include:
Government to transfer day-to-day responsibility for affordable housing, school performance, skills and employment programmes to combined authorities
Appropriate tax raising powers, which could include road tax, airport passenger duty and tourism taxes
More capital funding for transport, skills and housing to be devolved from Government departments
New Government Department for the English Regions led by a Cabinet minister and a Metro Mayors' committee chaired by the Prime Minister
Lord Heseltine's report lays out fundamental changes to how we run our regions, the structure and influence of Whitehall and the boundaries that surround us to harness local talent and unleash enterprise that embraces more people and distributes its benefits more widely.
We have enclosed a copy of the report and would be grateful for a response on our Pledge by 12 noon on Friday 19 July.
Tim Bowles, Mayor of the West of England
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North of Tyne
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City region
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands