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Metro Mayors on culture and the creative industries

An opportunity for new leadership?

Today, six Metro Mayors will be elected. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West of England, and the West Midlands, they will be directly elected leaders of Combined Authorities – taking responsibility for a range of responsibilities, from transport to planning, housing to infrastructure, that have been held in Whitehall.

I have written for Policy Network on the potential that enhanced city region leadership holds for culture and creativity. Looking more closely at how these issues have featured in the elections:

  • “Greater Manchester is home to some fantastic museums, galleries, theatres and live music venues,” writes Andy Burnham in his manifesto. “But if we don’t take steps to support culture across the City-Region then we are in danger of falling behind.”
  • “We will,” declares Steve Rotheram in Liverpool, “support ground-breaking initiatives at our universities including the Sensor City project and work in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Robotics.”
  • Sue Jeffrey wants “world class digital infrastructure” for Tees Valley.
  • Both the leading candidates in the West Midlands, Siôn Simon and Andy Street, participated at a hustings on the creative and cultural industries at the REP, Birmingham last week.

Many other issues have been covered in these mayoral elections – housing, planning, transport, inward investment, mental health, tourism, exports – to which the creative and cultural industries are relevant. These industries have the potential to help deliver many of the goals set by these new Mayors. We will be keeping a close eye in the coming months, blogging their developments.

- Jonathan Todd, Chief Economist