The Government has today launched a consultation, ‘What can a mayor do for your city?’. We are asking local communities to contribute their views on the powers that directly elected mayors should be able to exercise in the 12 largest English cities outside London.
The Government is committed to helping all of England’s cities thrive. Experience from London, and from other towns and cities in Europe and beyond, shows that directly elected mayors can provide strong and visible leadership, increase accountability for local decisions, enhance their city’s prestige and maximise the potential for local economic growth.
In the Coalition Agreement, the Government committed to creating directly elected mayors in the 12 largest English cities outside London, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors.
Leicester has already elected a city mayor. The Government is now planning referendums in 11 other cities - Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield - to take place in May 2012. Where local people vote in favour, these cities will move to a directly elected mayor.
The Government starts from the assumption that each of our cities is unique, facing challenges and opportunities shaped by its history and location. We think city mayors will be able to do their job best when their remit and powers properly match local circumstances.
Rather than simply seeking to impose a “one size fits all” approach, then, we think cities themselves should have a strong say over how mayors can help their city thrive. With this consultation, we are inviting contributions from the people who live and work in the 12 cities on which powers they believe a city mayor, where elected, should be able to exercise on their behalf.
This approach is in line with the Government’s commitment to localism, and to the ongoing success of England’s cities.
I am placing copies of the consultation document in the Library of the House. The Government is inviting responses by 3 January 2012.