Key Cities newsletter - February 2018

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This is the Key Cities newsletter, ‘Our Voice’, which updates member cities and stakeholders on the activities and progress we’re making to ensure we are heard in Government and beyond.

In the Media...

Article published in the Local Government Chronicle by Key Cities Chair, Cllr Peter Box CBE, on why the ‘Government must work with cities to address inequalities’, which references Centre for Cities’ recent report which argues that the challenge of bridging social and economic divides between our cities is one that ministers cannot duck. You can read the article here. https://www.lgcplus.com/7023269.article

Article published on the City Metric website by Key Cities Chair, Cllr Peter Box CBE, on ‘Why 2018 is shaping up to be a key year for Britain’s cities’. You can read the article here. https://www.citymetric.com/politics/why-2018-shaping-be-key-year-britain...

News…

We are developing our plans for a summit with the Core Cities, which will focus on shared issues around productivity, our post Brexit offer to Government, and international linkages across city areas.  The outcome of the meeting will be a joint statement outlining areas of common interest / a common policy position, to enable ministerial engagement and Government lobbying activity.

The Key Cities are developing a response to the next round of the ‘Fair Funding’ Consultation.  Our response will be developed with relevant officers across all Key City local authorities. The deadline for the consultation is on the 12th March.

The Key Cities Executive and portfolio holders have now agreed a ‘top three’ set of proposals for each of the portfolio areas at their meeting in January. These were developed based on the table top discussions we had at our previous two Full Group meetings. Portfolio holders will now progress these – they contain a wide range of proposals for activity for the Key Cities – spanning lobbying activity, sharing best practice, and the further development of policy.

At the last Full Group meeting, the Key Cities Group agreed to the production of a brochure setting out a core vision for the Key Cities, in partnership with the New Local Government Network (NLGN). The brochure will be an important tool in supporting us as a group to take forward our ambitions. There will be a Parliamentary launch for the brochure in June of this year. The document will set out several big, complex national challenges: growth/productivity, housing and the post-Brexit need to speak to those “left behind”. It would set out a clear, sharp vision that pitches the Key Cities as uniquely placed to respond to these. A second phase to the brochure, with case studies and deeper analysis will be published ahead of the Autumn Statement, alongside another parliamentary launch, and a public facing conference on our approach to ‘Beyond Brexit’.

Meetings with the Chair of the County Council’s Network (Cllr Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council) and the Chair of the Industrial Communities Alliance (Cllr Terry O’Neill, Leader of Warrington Borough Council) recently took place to discuss areas of common interest, and potential for future joint working. We will keep an ongoing dialogue with both networks about opportunities to respond to central government announcements either jointly or in alignment.

Bournemouth and Southend are discussing options for joint study visits to explore shared issues and responses to homelessness and street begging. We are looking forward to the outcome of this and other opportunities for Key Cities members to collaboratively share experiences and work on solutions to shared issues.

Coming up…

Meetings being arranged with a Key Cities agenda include:

Upcoming ministerial meetings with a Key Cities agenda include;

Sajid Javid MP – Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government - to discuss opportunities for medium sized cities in support of the Governments growth agenda.
Rishi Sunak MP – the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government – to discuss the Fair Funding Review and broader interests of the Key Cities Group.
Lord Henley - Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy - to discuss the Industrial Strategy and broader interests of the Key Cities Group.

We are currently looking at dates to re-launch the Key Cities APPG in the next few months - with Conor Burns MP and Emma Reynolds MP as our co-chairs.

We are also exploring options for a joint meeting with LEP Chairs and Universities that are coterminous with the Key Cities, to discuss areas of common interest and concern and the role of of the Key Cities in wider regional governance structures.

Upcoming Full Group meetings will feature discussions around the following topics;

Newport City Council – issues and experiences of a Welsh Key City
Port Key Cities – issues and experiences relating to our Port areas

Culture – featuring ‘City of Culture’ experiences from member authorities and linking to our work engaging in the Cities Cultural Enquiry (Lead by Cllr Alan Waters, Norwich).

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