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What we need now is radical thinking to unlock the vast potential of our cities and city regions, the kind of thinking that Core Cities UK has been doing since the pandemic hit and we look forward to continued dialogue with Government.

But today, the chancellor said little on the vital role of the local state and appears to be blind to the perilous state of local government finance. Local councils, particularly in cities, provide many of the vital services that will underpin recovery, but several are in danger of financial collapse.

Our larger cities could be engine rooms of recovery, the Core Cities produce 26pc of our economy, but they have been hit hard by Covid-19, devastated by increased spending and falling revenues. There was little in this budget for millions of people across our city regions whose livelihoods depend on vibrant urban centres. If we do not help our cities, surrounding areas will suffer.

And while changes to the Whitehall machine are welcome, we will not level up the UK or fix our unequal economic geographies by moving relatively small numbers of civil servants to English regions. We need a wholesale rethink of the way the UK state works, putting local communities in charge and creating policy that is truly joined up and place-based.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Interim Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Newcastle City Council