Modern Charter for Local Freedom

By on 09/02/2015 in Leader, News

Full news release below

Sir Albert Bore said: “Today I am proud to put my name to the Modern Charter for Local Freedom, alongside the other Core Cities Leaders and Mayors and other representatives from our cities.

“The issue of devolution is vital for our economic and social future and the forthcoming election debate. As a nation we have simply become too centralised, too dependent on Westminster and this is now damaging our ability to compete in a global economy. It is time once again to stand up and demand greater local freedom.

“In Birmingham, like the other great cities we want to engage with local people and businesses to set out a vision for the future of our city, its public services and how it is governed. We want to deliver greater prosperity, fairness and democracy, as the Charter sets out. But we can only do this if we are given the freedom to decide, to invest and to deliver.

“I would urge everyone with believes in the future of our city and all the political parties to sign up to this Charter and make sure that the next government doesn’t just talk about devolution but delivers it.â€

News release: Leaders of UK’s great cities launch Freedom Charter at devolution summit

  • ‘Magna Carta’ for the 21st century sets out freedoms so cities can reach potential
  • Leading think tank ResPublica launches report including timetable for Devolution.
  • Danny Alexander MP, Jim Murphy MP, and Keith Brown MSP among key speakers at summit

The leaders of the UK’s most economically successful cities gathered in Glasgow this morning to launch a Modern Charter for Local Freedom, setting out the powers our cities and their regions need to improve lives and boost the economy..

The charter, launched in the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta, sets out the basic principles on how powers can be devolved from national parliaments to drive prosperity, increase equality and strengthen democracy.

Echoing the original Magna Carta, it also calls for more control over taxes. Not to raise taxation levels – but to improve efficiency and make sure that money raised locally is spent locally by people who know their area.

And it adds that cities who want this, and meet set criteria, should be able to retain some property taxes and a percentage of income tax, to redesign everything from creating jobs to improving housing.

Core Cities already contribute almost a quarter of the combined economic output of England, Wales and Scotland, but with further devolution they could do a lot more.

The charter was launched this morning (Monday) at the Core Cities UK Devolution Summit taking place in Glasgow.

The summit has attracted high profile speakers including Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP, Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy MP and Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities.

Other speakers and panellists include:

  • Sir Richard Leese, Leader, Manchester City Council and Chair of Core Cities UK
  • Cllr Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council
  • Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council
  • Prof Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow
  • Prof Lesley Sawers, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business Innovation & Enterprise and Vice Principal Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Prof Michael Parkinson Liverpool University
  • Ben Page, chief executive of polling organisation Ipsos MORI

Core Cities chairman and leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese,said: “Today, in the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta, we launch our own radical Modern Charter for Local Freedom designed to set out the powers our great cities need to create jobs, build houses and improve lives.

“We believe it is only by devolving powers to cities and their regions that the UK can succeed on a global stage.

“What is good enough for the UK’s nations should be good enough for our cities. We are proposing a revolutionary shift in power from our remote parliaments to local people who know their places best.

“This is a low-risk, high impact strategy to secure a bolder, better national future that will create jobs, improve lives and renew our democracy.â€

The Summit also saw the launch of a new report from leading think tank ResPublica which sets out a timetable for any incoming Government to commit to devolution.

ResPublica director Phillip Blond said: “Our report is radical because the issue of why Core Cities have not been fulfilling their potential needs a completely new perspective. It’s not enough to simply say we can tweak at the edges anymore.

“These cities deserve the fullest possible devolution of public spending and tax raising powers. We are now calling on all the parties to agree a timetable for devolution. It’s time we stopped the failures in these great regions and ensured their future growth and prosperity.â€

Cllr Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “A centralising, power-grabbing Scottish Government is as much a barrier to achieving optimal economic growth and tackling inequality as an over-bearing Whitehall. Merely transferring powers between one parliament and another does not advance the cities agenda.

“All political parties in Scotland should back this Charter and urgently commit to devolving many existing and new Smith Commission powers to Scotland’s major cities and communities, starting with Glasgow, which is best placed to benefit.â€


Notes for editors

Core Cities UK consists of Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. Core Cities UK is a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of our cities in driving economic growth and the case for city devolution. We represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London along with Glasgow and Cardiff. For more information please visit

The charter is available to be viewed and signed here:

Will Mapplebeck
Strategic Communications Manager
Core Cities UK
07932 568571

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