Mid-sized cities across the UK have gained a powerful new voice in Parliament following the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Key Cities last week. The cross-party group – co-chaired by Emma Reynolds MP (Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East) and Conor Burns MP (Conservative, Bournemouth West) – will act as a vocal advocate for the Key Cities Group in Parliament, working to ensure that the challenges facing mid-sized cities are understood and addressed.

Key Cities was founded in 2013 and now represents 26 mid-sized cities across England and Wales, including Wolverhampton. The group seeks to promote mid-sized cities as engines of economic growth nationwide, and to ensure that local authorities are empowered to deliver better opportunities and public services for their residents.

The new cross-party group is launched at a critical time for the cities represented by Key Cities. The fallout from the EU referendum has highlighted the clear divisions that exist across the country, with many residents of mid-sized cities feeling left behind.

The inaugural APPG meeting discussed these issues with a particular reference to the industrial strategy to help formulate the full Key Cities response, established key themes for the APPG, including the skills agenda, including higher education, the future of technological innovation in cities, and transport connectivity and infrastructure. The Group then set out a programme for future meetings based on these themes.

APPG Co-chair Emma Reynolds MP said: “I am delighted to co-chair this important new cross-party group. I believe it can be an important advocate for the shared interests of our many mid-sized cities. They are rightly called ‘key cities’ because they are key to securing economic prosperity for our whole country. Our cities face both challenges and opportunities in the years ahead, regarding skills, education, local government funding and transport.”

“There is cross-party agreement in many of these policy areas. The APPG will amplify the voice of mid-sized cities, like Wolverhampton, in Parliament and advocate solutions to the problems we face and offer proposals so that these cities can exploit future opportunities.”

If you would like to find out more about Key Cities and what it means for Wolverhampton, you can do so here: http://www.keycities.co.uk/

February 2017