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Eight in ten members of the public want Boris Johnson to transfer more power to English cities




Ministers should delegate more power to English cities, say eight in ten members of the public.

A poll for the Center for Cities think tank found that 83% of city-region residents turned out to vote on May 6 for some form of greater decentralization.

Support was highest in the Tees Valley town area, held by the Tories, where 87% supported greater decentralization. It was 85% in London and Greater Manchester.

The main areas where people wanted more decentralization were affordable housing (51%), business support (47%) and access to skills and training (39%).

However, there was also evidence of widespread ignorance of the powers already devolved by the creation of city mayors.

A fifth of voters (20%) were unaware that their city was run by a mayor of the metro, according to a survey of 3,524 residents in the eight city-regions.

And only a third (33%) could appoint their mayor. The mayors of Greater Manchester and Greater London Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan achieved the most notoriety, with 63% and 60% of their city’s residents respectively able to name them.

But West England mayor, Tory Tim Bowles, who is not running again, has the lowest notoriety with just seven percent able to nominate him uninvited.

Andrew Carter, Managing Director of the Center for Cities, said: Residents of England’s largest cities overwhelmingly support the transfer of power from Whitehall to their communities.

As places seek to recover from the pandemic, it is essential that the government listen to demands for increased devolution and give mayors and other local leaders the powers and resources to rebuild better. People want Whitehall to do less, it’s time for him to listen.

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