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Finally, says Mayor Johnson, a government ‘that knows what needs to be done’

Mayor Johnson was one of 12 regional mayors to meet with Sir Keir

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Mayor Dr Nik Johnson says he is excited and refreshing to have a government “that knows what needs to be done to get this country back on its feet”. He was speaking after metro mayors from across the country were invited to a 7am meeting at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday with prime minister Sir Keir Starmer and deputy prime minister Angela Rayner.

Mayor Johnson said: “It’s very refreshing to have a government that’s actually interested in governing, that knows what needs to be done to get this country back on its feet, and that’s serious about working in partnership with local leaders on realising our regions’ collective potential.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street. Mayor Dr Nik Johnson, is front left. Further pictures at end of release. Government Flickr Page: Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors | 08/07/2024.… | Flickr

Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street. Mayor Dr Nik Johnson, is front left. Further pictures at end of release. Government Flickr Page: Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors | 08/07/2024.… | Flickr

“The prime minister and deputy prime minister are clearly determined to put power and resources where they can best enable economic growth, and as Mayors we are ready to rise to the challenge.”

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He said he welcomed a commitment from the Government to work with the Combined Authority “in powering forward Cambridgeshire and Peterborough”.

Mayor Johnson was one of twelve regional mayors from across the country to meet with the prime minister and deputy prime minister.

He said the meeting underscored a ‘reset’ by Government in how local leaders will be empowered to deliver the change needed by their communities, and to discuss a new partnership approach to the urgent development of regional growth plans.

Mayor Johnson said that the Combined Authority is ready to develop, in collaboration with partners, a Local Growth Plan for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough “which will unlock the good growth needed to keep one of the only net-contributing local economies to the exchequer sustainable”.

Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Jim McMahon joins the regional mayors, who had gathered at Downing Street for the first time, on a 100% electric bus on their way to a meeting at Transport for London. Picture by Simon Walker / Deputy Prime Minister's Office

Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Jim McMahon joins the regional mayors, who had gathered at Downing Street for the first time, on a 100% electric bus on their way to a meeting at Transport for London. Picture by Simon Walker / Deputy Prime Minister’s Office

The Mayor added that in collaboration with the Combined Authority Board, he looked forward to building on those commitments to make the case to Government for the investments Cambridgeshire and Peterborough needs for sustainable growth and a better future for everyone.

He said key areas of focus include:

1: Supporting the region’s growing cities, its market towns and rural areas

2: Sustaining agriculture

3: Improving public transport

4: Upskilling the workforce

5: Advancing renewable energy

6: Decarbonising homes

7: Building homes

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8: Tackling inequalities

9: Improving public health.

After the meeting the government confirmed that Mayors will be backed with new powers over planning, skills, employment support and transport; along with integrated funding settlements to leaders who demonstrate exemplary handling of public money. 

During the first-of-its kind meeting, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed their belief that Mayors have the vital local knowledge, capacity or flexibility needed to take advantage of every opportunity.

08/07/2024. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

09/07/2024. London, United Kingdom. Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner meets Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Alice Hodgson / No 10 Downing Street

08/07/2024. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

 Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner hosted a Downing Street reception for regional mayors including Dr Nik Johnson

08/07/2024. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Keir Starmer hosts Metro Mayors from across the United Kingdom in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said: “Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have so much to be proud of, from its incredible Cathedral and museums to its stunning countryside – and I know this area has even more to give.

“Because it is local people, and not Westminster, who know what works in their area and that is why my government will work in lockstep with your mayor to deliver change and growth.

 ”For too long, people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have not had their voice heard and in my first week in office, we are giving local people – like mayor Dr Nik Johnson, the power to boost local growth and in turn, reignite the economic potential that exists right across the UK.”   

The Deputy Prime Minister will write to all Mayors reiterating the need to work together to develop proposals to boost growth and other opportunities.

A key part of the roundtable focused on resetting the relationship between central and regional governments, focusing on public service, respect and collaboration, along with the early steps needed to unlock economic growth and tackle regional inequality.

The Deputy Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to widening devolution to more areas, encouraging more local authorities to come together and take on new powers.

Mayors can play an important role in advocating for the benefits of devolution and showing the impact they have been able to make with expanded powers.

The government will also establish a Council of Nations and Regions bringing together the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the Mayors of Combined Authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner said: “Cambridge leads the world in human science and digital discoveries, a brilliant city for centuries. Now neighbouring Peterborough also has the chance to expand, in innovative green energy and manufacturing.  

“We want to relight the fire of our regions to drive growth in every part of this country, and to do this properly we need people who know their areas best to have their say.

“That’s why it’s so important we work hand-in-hand with our Mayors to harness the potential of our towns and cities, tackle regional inequalities and to make a difference to people’s lives.

 “But I want to take devolution even further and expand our offer to other areas – and I invite local leaders from parts of England without a mayor to come forward and speak to us about how we can work with you to transform your regions.”

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