Response To The Respublica Report By Chair Of The Key Cities Group Councillor Paul Watson

In response to the recent ResPublica report Councillor Paul Watson, Chair of Key Cities Group and Leader of Sunderland City Council commented:

Phillip Blonde of ResPublica is absolutely correct when he states that "English cities need independence to restore their fortunes." (FT, 15 September).

But he is incorrect to say that only Greater Manchester is ready for such powers. Key Cities – which represents 23 of England's mid-sized cities – is calling on all political parties to recognise what more can be delivered through city-led devolution.

We are ready to play our part. Key Cities can be a test bed for innovative and ambitious government policy – from single city budgets through to city property boards to make better use of city assets – and thus grow local and regional economies.

But without devolution, our cities can't contribute to the economic growth our country needs. Whoever forms the next government, we need them to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and empower English cities to deliver even more for our nation.