Mayors urged to make one-hour vow

A think tank has urged new Metro Mayors to take the one-hour pledge, promising residents that no one working within their city will have to commute for longer than 60 minutes.

Metro Mayors are due to be elected in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield, the west midlands and the north east next year.

IPPR North has published a report, Connecting Lines, calling for the new Metro Mayors to vow to deliver faster and more convenient public services.

Its report has found that while London has progressed, major cities outside the capital has lagged behind on this front and need a single person to tackle these issues in each region.

Report author Luke Raikes, research fellow at IPPR North, said, ‘The Northern Powerhouse must be built on solid foundations, and getting people into decent jobs while leading healthier, more sustainable lives is essential. Metro Mayors will soon be able to make a big difference with their new transport powers.

‘From next year, a new wave of these Metro Mayors will sweep England’s cities – with London-style powers to invest fresh billions and make daily commutes quicker, cheaper and greener.

‘In the long-term, this could underpin stronger, more inclusive economic growth and prosperity for our major cities and the wider UK economy.

‘How they do this is up to them – but they have a range of options to choose from, and trade-offs to make based on the local circumstances.

‘But over a longer period, the government must go further, and make sure Metro Mayors have both the powers and the funding they need to end decades of under-investment in cities outside of London – and grant more freedoms as time goes on.’

The report also says central government should enable Metro Mayors to: invest in their transport network by drawing on new resources, such as an expanded business rate premium, workplace parking levies, road user charging and a broad range of other revenue raising powers; integrate the transport services of public, private and community transport providers, starting with the re-regulation of buses but ultimately taking a ‘Total Transport approach’; and lead their city-region, by using new democratic structures to govern inclusively.