1. Introduction by The Rt Hon
the Lord Heseltine of Thenford CH
It is an unacceptable consequence of the devolution of powers to
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that much of England itself
remains constrained by Whitehall’s dead hand of centralism.
The cities that laid the foundations of our imperial past – many of
them the equal in population and resource to the devolved authorities
– are denied the freedom enjoyed by their international peers to
compete in a world changing at a pace unprecedented in history.
The United Kingdom spends too much time glorying in the nostalgia
of the past and patching the institutions of yesteryear. A new
world order, huge unprecedented challenges and the availability of
technology unimagined by earlier generations compel us to empower,
enthuse and invigorate with all the strength we possess.
We must start with our great cities, the engines of our growth, the
rocks upon which our prosperity stands.
The historic towns that make up those conurbations, our freestanding
cities and our proud counties, they too must be rewarded to join the
front line of our endeavour.
Recent reforms have furthered this agenda, but progress has stalled
in the last two years. As my conversations with the mayors show, the
powers and resources that our conurbations have are uneven and
My recommendations are set out at the end of this report. They
are a route map for the reform needed in Whitehall and in our
conurbations to truly empower our English cities.