Increased membership highlights growing role of urban centres to influence national policy
Network of urban centres will drive the UK’s post-Covid recovery
Key Cities – a national network representing almost half of the UK’s urban areas – has announced that four new cities are joining the organisation.
Bath, Exeter, Lincoln and Wrexham will join the network of 21 other member cities, which have a broad political and geographical spread across the UK.
Clockwise from top left: Bath, Exeter, Lincoln, Wrexham
Key Cities works with other cities, towns and organisations across local government and beyond to deliver prosperity, protect the environment and raise standards of living across the country. The network champions for the future of the UK’s urban centres by producing research, responding to consultations and engaging with politicians and policy makers.
The new members will further strengthen the network’s ability to influence national policy, share and scale new ideas, and drive economic and social growth.
Key Cities’ work will also play an important role in the UK’s post-Covid recovery, particularly on issues relating to ports, housing, culture, climate, levelling up and devolution.
Cllr John Merry, Key Cities Chair and Deputy Mayor for Salford, said: “Our collective voice is more powerful in demonstrating the opportunities and challenges our cities face. The enthusiasm of these four cities to join Key Cities is testament to the value of our network in bringing about positive change, and we very much look forward to working with them.”
Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath and North Somerset Council, said: “Bath and North East Somerset Council is delighted to be joining Key Cities. Our World Heritage City of Bath is unique – a historic, small, liveable city, but with international reach and renown. But, as with so many smaller cities, Covid-19 has hit Bath hard.
“Our visitor economy has been particularly impacted, and we need to find new ways ensuring we continue to thrive. That means working with the many other cities across the country who have come together in this important network.
“We look forward to collaborating with our fellow Key Cities on these and other issues, raising the profile of our contributions and ensuring central government listens to our voices.”
Cllr Phil Bialyk, Leader of Exeter City Council, said: “Key Cities delivers. By working together, we will be able to unlock things for residents we simply wouldn’t have been able to do on our own.
“In the city the public and private sector are already working hard together to deliver Exeter’s recovery and things residents have said are important to them. This is a much welcome boost to be able see those results more quickly.
“These include overcoming our infrastructure challenges and capitalising on opportunities to drive the levelling up agenda for the South West.”
Cllr Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “Joining Key Cities will enable us to successfully collaborate with cities from across the country who have similar opportunities and challenges to ourselves in Lincoln.
“Group membership provides us all with a bigger and better voice and the ability to add value to what we do as local leaders.
“We all have high aspirations for our areas and proven track records in adding economic and social value to our cities. The opportunity to learn from each other is immense.
“As the country recovers from the current pandemic, being a member of Key Cities should provide invaluable support in ensuring we are the forefront of that recovery.”
Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council, said: “We are very happy to have been given the opportunity to join the Key Cities Group, and it is good to have received recognition of our status as a major urban area at the heart of North Wales’ economic and social ambitions.
“We share the group’s ambition to work with the UK government and others to test practical solutions for social and economic issues, including post pandemic economic recovery, and we want to work with the group towards more tangible, positive outcomes for the county borough”.