Key Cities Newsletter - November

This is the first edition of ‘our voice’ - a regular update on the activities and progress we’re making to ensure we are heard in Government and beyond.

It is with deepest regret that we note the sad loss of Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland Council. Paul was the first Chair of, and the driving force behind the Key Cities Group. He will be deeply missed by friends and colleagues across all our cities, and I am sure you will join us in sending our condolences to his family and the people of Sunderland.

In the Media...

Housing crisis

Cllr John Merry, Deputy Mayor of Salford, and Key Cities portfolio holder for Housing, wrote an article on the CityMetric website, arguing that councils should take the lead on solving the housing crisis. Read the article



Key Cities is planning a conference for the Spring of 2018 – called ‘Beyond Brexit’. The conference will cover productivity, the Industrial Strategy and Brexit. It will engage Ministers, wider stakeholders and the media on related policy issues raised by Key Cities, including the impact and opportunities for UK cities in the run up to and after Brexit. Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, is our portfolio holder for Brexit. She is looking to secure engagement with the Department for Exiting the European Union, and to amplify our voice on this significant issue.

Government Budget Consultation

Key Cities has responded to the Government’s recent consultation for the November budget – highlighting a number of asks including more investment in and greater powers for medium and small sized cities – to deliver improved productivity returns, as well as greater powers around housing and a review of statutory burdens on local authorities. Read the submission

Fair Funding Review

Key Cities has sent a letter to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in response to the Government’s Fair Funding Review, which will set new funding baselines for every authority alongside the introduction of 100% business rate retention in 2019-20. On behalf of the Key Cities Group, the letter expressed our views around an equitable and sustainable system of funding for local government, and that any new finance system should support local authorities in their core purposes – to tackle poverty, reduce inequalities and to support good economic growth. Read the letter

Working with Core Cities

In October, Key Cities and Core Cities had a valuable meeting to build strong relationships and consider the added value of working together when appropriate. We agreed to hold regular joint events.

World Cities Day - In partnership

Key Cities and Core Cities put out a joint statement on the United Nations ‘World Cities Day on the 31 October, which urges the Government to develop a Brexit ‘City Deal’ empowering the UK’s cities to deliver inclusive growth. Read the statement


The Key Cities Chair, Cllr Peter Box, recently met with the Leader of Newport City Council – Cllr Debbie Wilcox – to discuss the valuable role Newport can play going forwards. Newport are keen to engage with the Key Cities agenda and will give a presentation at a Future Full Group meeting about the particular issues facing Newport - so that members can better understand the Welsh experience, and to make sure these issues are reflected in our overall messages to Government.

Northern Powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is due to be launched on the 27th November. As a crucial political engagement opportunity for the North, we have been working to ensure that the voice of Northern Key Cities is heard at the launch. We have highlighted the significant economic contribution Northern Key Cities make to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ economy - our combined economic turnover is £63bn per annum and manufacturing value of Key Cities Members in the Northern Powerhouse is £9.2bn per annum. If the Key Cities voice is not formally heard at the APPG, we will seek alternative opportunities within the media to inform the Northern Powerhouse debate at the time of the launch.

Policy Alerts

As the new secretariat to the Key Cities Group, Wakefield Council has started circulating relevant policy alerts to Key Cities Leaders, Chief Executives and policy leads. Let us know if there is anyone from your local authority that wishes to be included in our alerts – or our newsletter.

Coming up…

Meetings being arranged with a Key Cities agenda include:

  • Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse
  • County Council’s Network
  • Confederation of British Industry
  • Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Industrial Communities Alliance
  • The Business Services Association