I am writing this as I have been asked to help organise a visit of Dutch policy makers who are keen to learn from our experience of City policy in England and whilst I have lived through it and had an input into some of it – I couldn’t find a succinct summary of this policy and how it has emerged – becoming much stronger in recent years. I decide to draft a piece.
The draft briefing I have prepared can be found (here) – it starts under the last Labour Government with the failure of the regional tier of governance and continues on under the Coalition government with City Deals and Growth Deals and the roll out of Combined Authorities etc. I would welcome any comments on it as it is still draft/rough. I would say it is a factual timeline of policy developments rather than an evaluative and reflective piece – which may come later.
The reason however I was stirred to write this post is because I came across two different pieces today which really impressed me. Firstly this morning I came across this article by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian (here) which goes behind the scenes into the detail of the Manchester deal on devolution. It details the key roles of Howard Bernstein (Manchester CEO), Richard Leese (Manchester Leader) and latterly George Osborne (The Chancellor). Really fascinating reading.
Secondly I came across this audio interview on the Centre for Cities site with Professors’ Tony Travers (LSE) and Michael Parkinson (Liverpool) together with ex FT Journalist Brian Groom. A dream team talking (here) about the last ten years and the next ten years in urban policy and the crucial role that some cities are forging. Discussing the success of Greater Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse and the failure of the Midlands (ie Greater Birmingham et al) in recent years and the need for choices to be made going forward. Really stimulating listening.
The Dutch visitors will hopefully benefit from all this discussion currently and I am really enjoying getting my head around it.