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Core Cities UK's long-serving director Chris Murray is to step down after 14 years.

Core Cities UK is an alliance of 11 cities - Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. Its mission is to unlock the full potential of UK city regions to create a stronger, fairer economy and society.

During Chris’s time at the helm, the group has grown into a respected UK-wide policy network, expanding from eight English cities to 11 cities covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Core Cities UK has played a leading role in changing the narrative around cities, persuading national politicians that they are not a problem to be solved but an opportunity to be grasped.

Chris said: "It has been a massive privilege to work for Core Cities UK over the last 14 years as we have continued to make the case for urban Britain and the economic role of cities in driving prosperity

“During that time we have seen our evidence-based campaigns gain political traction, for example on devolution and decentralisation. We’ve also just got on with the job of delivering change together across areas as diverse as housing, skills and jobs, culture and net zero.

“Core Cities UK is in a great position to move forward into its next phase of success, and I feel that now is the right time for me to move on. I'd like to place on record my thanks to Core Cities UK's political Cabinet, Chief Executives, and the many talented officers I’ve worked with for all their support and direction over the last decade and a half. They are an amazing group of people with a unique skill-set and experience."

Chris will leave his post as Director early next year and plans to focus on projects including other work with cities, universities and social enterprises as well as his ongoing work on urban psychology.

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and Chair of Core Cities UK, said: "Chris's hard work, relationships and strategic vision have propelled Core Cities UK to the position it enjoys today as one of the most respected policy voices in British politics.

“He has helped to transform the perception of cities within Governments of all political colours and pursued successful partnerships with a range of international organisations including OECD. He leaves us in a far better place and I know that whatever he does next, he will continue to be a champion for the UK's cities."

The group's many achievements during Chris's time as Director of Core Cities UK include:

  • Developing innovative financing models like Tax Incremental Financing and getting them adopted in several cities realising hundreds of millions of pounds in investment.
  • Working with Government to get City Deals over the line, paving the way for greater decentralisation and devolution across wider local government.
  • Changing legislation to enable increased local control, including the Core Cities Amendment to the Localism Act 2011.
  • Setting up and working on influential commissions with partners for example the Inclusive Growth Commission, UK Cities Climate Investment Commission and the Cultural Cities Enquiry.
  • Establishing the first G7 U7 (Urban 7) meeting of international urban networks to coincide with the UK's presidency of the G7 in 2021.
  • Bringing Core Cities UK and the OECD together for a major study of UK city productivity.