of the Government Offices simply enabled Whitehall to recreate
the earlier fragmented model. People didn’t lose jobs. They moved
offices. Therefore, as part of this report I asked each of the Combined
Authorities to map the local and governmental offices they were
aware of in their area. See the previous page for the results. They
speak for themselves.
Starting with the mayoralty in London in 2000, this country is slowly
becoming accustomed to the concept of directly elected and powerful
Combined Authority mayors. Since this report was commissioned,
the North of Tyne and Sheffield have agreed to move to this model
and, again, a glance at their composition reveals that the framework
is far from optimal.
The new mayors of our large cities have been welcomed on the world
stage by their peer group of mayors from most advanced countries.
Representing their conurbations overseas is an important part of
new responsibilities. They are ambassadors for their local interests,
partners with local employers in pursuit of inward investment, large
contracts and overseas visitors, to name just a few. They must face
the flak of ill-informed local criticism for undertaking ‘overseas
junkets’ when, in practice, such activities are exhausting and often
tedious. But they can be invaluable in furthering local interests.
Fighting for the self-interest of their communities is what they are
paid to do and overseas travel is a part of that.
There is another beneficial aspect. It is the best training ground for
the job. All over the world their equivalent mayors are grappling
with the same economic, social and housing problems. Worldwide
communications and the accelerating use of technology are forcing
change. You do not need to be professionally qualified to understand
that environmental policy, clean water and clean air are an
The people will know what the highest standards are and where they
are being achieved. They will know who achieved them and how.
Mayors will need to define their policies against world standards.
If they don’t, local challengers will. The post-war world brought