The chief executive of Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna, has said that Boris Johnson should invite West Midlands metro mayor Andy Street to sit on any COVID- recovery taskforce that is being established by the government.
Mr McKenna said:
“I note that the Welsh First Minister and The First Minister for Scotland have been invited to a Union Summit to talk about the shared challenges of the pandemic. But surely the English regions deserve a seat at the table too. Each place will be facing unique, distinctive issues within their regions, and it would be advantageous to the government and the country to have a diverse range of voices in the room to identify what solutions may work best to meet those challenges.
“Where pilot projects to tackle COVID have been successful, it has often been on the back of strong partnership working between central government and devolved government. It would be sensible to extend that approach to the next phase of recovery, particularly when looking at how best to get our economy moving again.
“Andy Street, Andy Burnham, Tracy Brabin, Ben Houchen, and the other metro mayors should be extended an invitation to serve on a special UK Recovery Taskforce, to ensure that the different regions priorities can be identified and discussed if we are to see the economy bounce back as effectively as it can.”
But it’s not only Boris Johnson who should be reaching out to metro mayors. In his blog this week, Frank McKenna tells Labour leader Keir Starmer “In metro mayor contests across the Northern Powerhouse, Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham were re-elected with bumper majorities, and Labour’s West Yorkshire candidate Tracy Brabin became the first female metro mayor in the country. Perhaps he could pick the phone up to individuals who are arguably among the most powerful Labour politicians in England at the moment, and either invite them into his Shadow Cabinet, or at least ask them how it’s done.”
Labour shadow minister and Birmingham MP Jess Phillips is likely to have a view on this. She’ll be sharing her thoughts on post-COVID recovery and much more at the Downtown in Business Birmingham event on Wednesday 16th June 2021. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.