Key Cities newsletter - December 2017

This is the latest Key Cities ‘Our Voice’ newsletter - a regular update on the activities and progress we’re making to ensure we are heard in Government and beyond. Firstly, we would like to wish you all the best for the holiday period and we look forward to working together again with you in the new year.

In the Media

Our response to the November Budget - “We need a bolder budget” was published in the MJ. The article argues that investment in mid-size cities in the UK will pay major and cost effective dividends in driving both growth and productivity across all regions of the UK.

An article on the role of Key Cities in the Northern Powerhouse  was published in the Yorkshire Post. The article argues that in order for the Northern Powerhouse to be truly successful in achieving its aims, the voice of Northern Key Cities must be heard and help shape the approach. The article also argues that there is a significant amount of potential within medium sized cities and smaller towns, not only across the North, but across the entire country. 


Our submission on the Fair Funding Review, was met with a positive response from Marcus Jones MP, Minister for Local Government at CLG. This included an invitation for Key Cities to respond to the forthcoming consultation on initial proposals for ‘relative needs’, as well as an invitation for representatives from the Group to meet with the Minister, to further discuss the issues we raised.

We recently met with the County Council’s Network – so we could identify areas of common interest and potential for future joint working. We identified some areas that could be usefully explored further together, which included opportunities for addressing low levels of social mobility, campaigning for fairer funding for local areas, and our shared understanding of the imbalances in the UK economy felt across small to medium sized local areas.

We had a productive meeting with Jake Berry MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse. He agreed to meet with Northern Key City Leaders early in 2018, and Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the Key Cities Group, will be invited to speak at the next Northern Powerhouse APPG on the importance of Skills for the productivity of the North and the wider UK economy. We will continue to keep a high level of engagement with Jake Berry, to make sure the issues relating to medium sized cities and local economies across the UK, not just in the North, are high on his agenda.

Industrial Communities Alliance

We met with the Industrial Communities Alliance to explore areas of common interest and the potential for future joint working.

We have been exploring ideas for developing policy and shared learning across our localities with the New Local Government Network (NLGN)  – their innovative approach should mean some great opportunities for Key Cities into the new year.

Key Cities and Core Cities have agreed to hold a joint ‘summit’ in March 2018. The Summit will help to focus our approach to productivity and what we do ‘Beyond Brexit’ – a great opportunity for cities across the UK to get together and come up with a tangible plan. Relevant Ministers will be invited and a media plan will be formulated to support the communication of messages coming out of the summit.

Coming up

  • A workshop-style discussion focusing on ‘skills for the future’ with the Business Services Association will take place at the February Full Group meeting. This will help us to identify areas of mutual interest including joint work/ lobbying on shaping a skills system that works for communities, cities and industry now and in the future. 
  • We are planning the publication of a document early next year, outlining the vision and policy direction for Key Cities. This will be an important exercise in helping to raise the profile of our Group, and to enable us to articulate the policy messages we have been developing over the last few months. The document will also include messages and activity relating to each of the Executive Group’s portfolios, as well as our response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
  • We are also exploring the development of a document outlining major investment opportunities across Key City areas – to enable us to capture our cities wishes in terms of future infrastructure and productivity investment projects.