Core Cities has today (14 August) expanded its membership beyond England for the first time in its history.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of the Core Cities Cabinet, said:
“On behalf of the other Core Cities, I am delighted to welcome Glasgow, a great Scottish and British city into our network. This is an historic moment for our group, expanding for the first time in more than a decade and for the first time ever outside England, a move which was agreed by all eight Core Cities' political leaders.
“The question of independence is one for the people of Scotland, but the question of devolution to drive urban economies and jobs is one for cities, whether they are located in England or Scotland. Together we will be more able to challenge the centralising tendencies of all our governments. This does mean radical constitutional change, but it cannot just mean a contest between parliaments.
“Our cities economies will benefit from greater connectivity rather than separation. For example by working together to deliver HS2 as a first step toward a full national High Speed Rail network we will make life better for people and businesses in every UK city. And by collaborating to create better economic and employment policies we will deliver more jobs and growth for the nation. Together we will create an exciting vision for a wealthier, fairer and more balanced Britain.”
The Core Cities led the first wave of City Deals, bespoke packages of power and resources devolved to cities initially in England. Glasgow is the first non-English city to announce a City Deal with the UK Government, for a programme of infrastructure investment valued at £1.13 billion. Glasgow and seven other neighbouring local authorities will benefit from the City Deal.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“This is a highly significant moment as Glasgow takes her rightful place alongside our sister cities in England at the forefront of efforts to expand and re-balance the British economy. Glasgow has more in common with cities like Liverpool and Manchester than we do with many parts of Scotland.
“Arguing over which powers should be held by Holyrood or Westminster is a sterile distraction. Power and resources should be transferred from both parliaments to city-regions if we’re serious about creating jobs. Both nation-building centralisers and austerity-obsessives undermine economic growth.
“The future is urban, and metropolitan cities the world-over are the powerhouses of the economy. For the first time in human history the majority of the world’s population live in cities, a figure set to rise to 75 per cent by 2050.”
Glasgow shares the attributes and criteria associated with other Core Cities: a critical economic hub at the centre of a bigger city region; diverse sectoral growth and skills within its labour market; containing a set of assets, infrastructure and institutions that underpin growth; a large population; and at the heart of a city region which has a coherent governance structure and is a prime driver of growth and employment at scale across a much larger geography.
Glasgow's urban area delivers 33.1 per cent of the Scottish economy and is home to 1,790,500 people, which when combined with the 27 per cent of the English economy delivered by Core Cities urban areas and their residents, equates to 24.6 per cent of the UK economy (27 per cent of the English and Scottish economy combined) and 27.5 per cent of the UK population (29.7 per cent of the combined English and Scottish population).
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:
“I am delighted that Glasgow is joining the Core Cities group as our first Scottish member. We have all been impressed by the commitment that Gordon Matheson has shown to our shared agenda and we know that Glasgow will strengthen our collective voice still further.
“What we have in common as great UK cities is far more important than the national boundary that lies between us. I look forward to working with the city as they look to prosper from their triumphant Commonwealth Games. I also look forward to making the case together for greater devolution to the cities and investments such as taking HS2 to Scotland.”
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Glasgow City Council
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Notes to editors
The Core Cities consist of: Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read online at http://www.corecities.com.
The Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England's eight largest city economies outside London and Scotland's largest city. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders and Mayors. For more information please visit http://www.corecities.com.