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In the landscape of British governance, a significant shift towards decentralization and regional empowerment has been witnessed, largely through the introduction of the UK Metro Mayors. These elected leaders represent major metropolitan areas across the country, wielding considerable powers and driving initiatives crucial to regional development.

2024 will mark the ten-year anniversary of negotiations to create the first Metro Mayors outside of London. It will also mark the moment that the majority of people living in England will be represented by an elected Mayor.

With this change it has never been more important to understand England’s changing political landscape and respond to the Mayors’ ‘place first’ mantra.

What is a Metro Mayor?

The concept of Metro Mayors was introduced as part of the devolution agenda aimed at decentralizing power and decision-making from Westminster to local authorities. This was done through a tranche of ‘devolution deals’ with the selected areas.

These provide significant powers and funding for issues such as housing, local transport, skills, strategic planning, adult education, and business support. 

Metro mayors chair a cabinet of the leaders of combined authority councils. Once in place, they have executive powers and funding available to them to make strategic decisions across whole city region’s economy.

Why do they matter to manufacturers?

While each devolution deal is different, there is a lot for manufacturers to be interested in, such as skills, which appears in all of the deals.

Lack of skills has long been a thorn in the side of manufacturers, with currently 70,000 live vacancies across the sector hampering its productivity and contribution to the economy, our research has found 66% of manufacturers do not think there is enough funding support for training.

To engage with the mayoral candidates, we've gathered feedback from members to identify the key areas of focus they desire for the mayor of these regions, as well as their investment priorities and where they see upcoming market opportunities.

You can find a fact card for each of the electoral regions with this information, along with other useful regional data, at the bottom of this page.