Over the last year I have been working with the leadership of the Core Cities with the aim of upping the power of the collective representations we make to government.
We are all facing the challenge of managing a shrinking financial settlement in the face of increasing demand for our services. We know we must come together.
As a result we have agreed to jointly produce a Green Paper for Cities. This paper will set out what we need. It will make the case for investment in our cities, both the physical assets such as homes and transport, and the populations through services such as children’s mental health and education. It will set out the argument that disinvesting in our cities (austerity) is not only resulting in social injustice but is a false economy. Many of the services and interventions local government are unable to invest in are services that produce economic benefit and/or reduce the needs for more expensive services in years to come. The first draft will be ready by early July and we will refine it over the summer.
We have agreed to book a day in Westminster in early September where we will present the paper to Ministers and Shadow Ministers. This is our opportunity to define the agenda for cities and set the tone for the Westminster – City relationship over the rest of this parliament. We are talking with both Ministers and Shadow Ministers because we need them all to understand and be on board.
And we want to up the ante on city investment and power. We are not only interested in increasing our ability to determine what happens inside our boundaries. We’ll be arguing that cities need the platform to shape the context within which they operate. We need to be able to influence national and international policy on areas ranging from migration to Brexit. Tht is the fundamental political shift we need.