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Issue:- 16 June 2011

Give mayors power to make tough decisions for growth says new report.

LOCAL authority mayors should be given more powers to make the difficult decisions which can support growth. That is the conclusion of a report published today by the Institute for Government and Centre for Cities, which urges the government to devolve more powers to mayors through the localism bill and also give cities the freedom to bid for metro mayors with additional powers.

The report Big Shot or Long Shot?  How elected mayors can help drive economic growth in England's cities shows that mayors have potential to make a strong impact on the challenges that affect the growth of our cities. But the report argues that Mayors need greater powers to make the more controversial yet important decisions about planning and transport to give them best chance of delivering the strategies that can support growth. These include:-

Strategic oversight of the council’s core strategy (the Local Development Framework) to ensure that it looks beyond administrative boundaries – this could be similar to the London Plan. 

Taking decisions about strategic planning applications which support economic growth, such as major infrastructure projects or major housing sites.

Chairing the Integrated Transport Authority – we know that successful transport policy can enable economic growth. The Mayor should play a key role in developing this.

Co-chairing the Local Enterprise Partnership. This would help give Mayors a strong presence amongst the local business community. It would enable the Mayor to communicate to central government the needs of the area.

The report also calls on government to give cities the option to decide which mayoral model is right for their local economy. The report states that some cities would benefit from a ‘metro mayor,’ who would govern a wider geographic area to cover the level of the natural economic boundary. These metro mayors would be most affective with additional powers that take from the most successful aspects of the London Mayoral model - strategic powers over transport, planning and skills, to drive a strategy for growth.

Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said:- "Mayors have the potential to improve how cities are governed but to realize their full promise they need additional powers and influence to those currently proposed. Centre for Cities research shows that skills, transport and planning remain the most significant and urgent barriers to growth; mayors will need to be able to tackle these through formal and informal powers. Citizens in every city and city region should be able to make their own decisions about the right governance for their place and their economy. So we are also urging the government to amend legislation to give cities the option to have either a local authority or metro mayor. Where there is political appetite for metro mayors, they would operate across functioning economic areas and so have the most potential to support business growth and job creation. All these models can and should evolve over time."

Andrew Adonis, Director of the Institute for Government said:- "Central government has a real opportunity in the localism bill to demonstrate its commitment to strong city leadership and to encourage growth by divesting the powers to drive it. Evidence from the UK and abroad shows that elected mayors can have a transformative effect on city economies. But if they are going to succeed, government first has to give them the powers to make a difference. The London experience has shown that mayors can deliver change for-the-good but only where they can make city-wide strategic decisions that transcend local in-fighting and nimbyism”.

The report Big Shot or Long Shot: How elected mayors can help drive economic growth in England's cities will be launched in Birmingham at KPMG’s offices in Birmingham at 10am on Tuesday, 14 June 2011. Spaces at the event are limited.

Do you agree? Let us know your views on this topic by emailing is to:- and let us know what your voice is saying!


BIRKDALE Irrigation Allotment Society (BIAS) has recently been launched to cater for the needs of over 100 plot-holders and several community groups on the Birkdale site, and aspires to serve the wider local gardening community who are invited to join as associate members. The society is especially keen to offer friendship and benefits to the hundreds of people stuck on the allotment’s waiting list. Membership benefits include discounts on seeds and local gardening supplies, and the opportunity to draw on members’ friendly expertise.

Their website, includes a forum where gardening resources such as plants and equipment can be given away or swapped, and advice sought. For further information, please visit the website or contact the secretary, Mark James on:- 01704 540612.

The society has already organised improvements to the badly potholed road, and aims to improve site security, as there has been a recent spate of fly-tipping and theft on the site. They have applied to the Woodland Trust for free trees to secure the perimeter with hedging, and to the Council for dog litter bins.

Chairperson Paul Williamson said:- "Although we are a young Allotment Society, we are actively working to support the needs of our plot-holders as well as those people who are on long waiting lists for a plot. As local people become more conscious of the health benefits of fresh locally grown wholesome food, costing a fraction that bought from a supermarket, they are becoming increasingly frustrated by the inability of the local authority to make adequate provision for their needs. Perhaps the local authority can rise to the challenge and make due provision before the end of 2011."

Mike Booth, Sefton Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism was a guest at the Society’s first A.G.M. in March. He said:- "It is always heartening to speak about good news in our borough rather than dwelling on current problems. I enjoyed the company of a large group of keen and dedicated allotment tenants, positive and eager to improve the facilities offered at their site. Allotments are an important feature of our borough, offering a healthy activity that provides a great return for the effort put into the land. Judging by the reception I received, this dedicated group of enthusiasts will also offer friendship and good company to anybody that chooses to join them."

Win £5000 of Canon equipment with manufacturing photography competition

PROFESSIONAL and amateur photographers, including young talent, are invited to put the pride back in local manufacturing by focusing their cameras on the heroes of modern industry.  The EEF Heroes of Modern UK Manufacturing Photography Competition aims to capture the people, products, places and processes that make UK manufacturing great.  The competition, supported by Canon, The ERA Foundation, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, The Guild of Photographers, and The Manufacturer magazine, is free to enter, with three categories of professional, amateur and young people aged 14 to 19.  Winners will be announced at the prestigious EEF Future Manufacturing Awards in January 2012, and the gallery of winning and shortlisted images will be showcased throughout the year.  Canon is providing prize vouchers for £5000 worth of photography equipment, which will be shared among the winners.

Announcing the competition, EEF Chief Executive, Terry Scuoler, said:- "We’re inviting photographers of all ages to capture a new image for UK manufacturing – one that banishes the negative stereotypes of dark, cold factories and oily rags – and demonstrates the modern face of the sector. It’s an open brief with a heroic theme that can focus on any aspect of UK manufacturing.”

Giving his support to the awards, Business Minister Mark Prisk, MP said:- "Copies of some of last year’s winning photographs are proudly displayed in my ministerial office – they're a daily reminder of what’s great about UK manufacturing and how crucial the sector is to rebuilding and rebalancing the UK economy.  Once again, I fully support this competition and look forward to seeing the dynamism of modern industry captured on camera."

Entry is free via the EEF website at:- with entries closing on 31 October 2011

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