City links 'will help Glasgow' promote growth and employment

GLASGOW has joined an influential group of English cities to promote growth and employment.

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Scotland's biggest city has accepted an invitation to join the Core Cities Group, consisting of eight of England's biggest cities outside London.

Glasgow is the first non-English city to join the group.

All eight city leaders agreed to invite Glasgow to join, in a bid to ensure they are able to act on urban issues and counter centralisation from Westminster and Holyrood.

Glasgow joining the group is seen as strengthening the idea of people in big cities across the UK having similar issues and problems, which are better solved by working together.

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "This is a highly significant moment as Glasgow takes her rightful place alongside our sister cities in England at the forefront of efforts to expand and re-balance the British economy. Glasgow has more in common with cities like Liverpool and Manchester than with many parts of Scotland.

"Arguing over which powers should be held by Holyrood or Westminster is a sterile distraction. Power and resources should be transferred from both parliaments to city-regions if we're serious about creating jobs."

The move follows the awarding last month of a City Deal to Glasgow, where £500 million in funding from the UK Government was matched by the Scottish Government.

The cash will be to fund major infrastructure projects, drive innovation and growth in key business sectors, and address local labour market challenges.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of the Core Cities Cabinet, said: "The question of independence is one for the people of Scotland. But the question of devolution to drive urban economies and jobs is one for cities, whether they are in England or Scotland.

"Together we will be more able to challenge the centralising tendencies of all our governments."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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