Yesterday, Belfast Chamber launched a report on the future of the city of Belfast. As many of you know a pet idea of mine is a dramatic overhaul of how the city and it’s wider suburbs are governed. City Mayors have been found in many jurisdictions to be wide net positives for growth and securing investment.
The Chamber have examined a number of case studies about powers for the city and what could be achieved from more devolution to local government. The entire report is worth reading in full. There is a deeper quality conversation that we need to have about how we use our local councils and the powers we give them.
The Chief Executive, Simon Hamilton spoke about comparisons with other UK cities;
Over the course of the last decade, we have witnessed cities across the UK – our competitors for talent and investment – becoming increasing empowered. The surge in the growth of places like Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham may not be entirely down to their new governance structures but it is surely not a complete coincidence either.
Belfast Chamber believes that our city’s best days lie ahead of us and that we still possess so much unfulfilled potential. Whilst we are hugely impressed with the transformation our city has experienced – much of which has been delivered through the courage and hard work of our members – we are, at times, frustrated by the pace of change and a growing sense that we are falling behind rival cities.
The report asks to hear you views on the following topics;
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs