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The Core Cities Group (also Core Cities UK) is a self-selected and self-financed collaborative advocacy group of large regional cities in the United Kingdom and outside Greater London. The group was formed in 1995 as a partnership of eight city councils: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield. The Core Cities Group has wide ranging interests, encompassing transport and connectivity, innovation and business support, skills and employment, sustainable communities, culture and creative industries, climate change, finance and industry, and governance. During 2012 the first wave of 'city deals' recognised the eight cities as "the largest and most economically important English cities outside of (sic) London".[1]

Core Cities Group
Logo of the Core Cities Group
Established 1995
Headquarters Manchester Town Hall
Chris Murray

Since 2010 British cities outside England have started consultations for incorporation into the group. In August 2014, Glasgow joined the group as the first non-English city,[2] followed by Cardiff.[3]

A particular interest of the group is the High Speed 2 project to interlink the larger British cities faster. [4]



The group formed in 1995 and membership is made up of eight local authorities with city status; of which six are metropolitan borough councils and two are unitary authorities in the English local government system. The local authorities came together to promote their common interests of transport and connectivity, innovation and business support, skills and employment, sustainable communities, culture and creative industries, climate change, finance and industry, and governance. The eight city councils are also members of the pan-European Eurocities network, a group co-founded by Birmingham City Council.

Localism Act 2011Edit

During the passage of the Localism Act 2011, the group promoted the 'Core Cities amendment' to allow for bespoke decentralisation to its members, which was successfully incorporated.[5] Several of the 'City Deals' subsequently agreed between the Cabinet Office/Department for Communities and Local Government in 2012 included enhanced powers and city regional working at their core, including new combined authorities, thanks to the provision.[6]

Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016Edit

The introduction of directly-elected mayors to combined authorities in England and the devolution of housing, transport, planning and policing powers to them were provisions contained in the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.[7]


Core Cities Group
City Country Local authority Leader
(political affiliation)
City population Urban area population Metro area population
Birmingham   England Birmingham City Council vacant 1,124,600 2,440,986 3,737,000
Bristol   England Bristol City Council Marvin Rees 454,200 617,280 1,151,000
Cardiff   Wales Cardiff City Council Phillip Bale 361,500 447,287 1,315,000
Glasgow   Scotland Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken 615,100 1,209,143 1,788,000
Leeds   England Leeds City Council Judith Blake 781,700 1,777,934 2,302,000
Liverpool   England Liverpool City Council Joe Anderson OBE 484,600 864,122 2,241,000
Manchester   England Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese 541,300 2,553,379 2,794,000
Newcastle   England Newcastle City Council Nick Forbes 296,500 774,891 1,599,000
Nottingham   England Nottingham City Council Jon Collins 325,300 729,977 1,543,000
Sheffield   England Sheffield City Council Julie Dore 575,400 685,368 1,569,000

Source for metropolitan area populations: [8]


  1. ^ "Manchester City Deal brings 6,000 jobs boost – Announcements". 20 March 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Historic moment as Core Cities welcomes Glasgow into group". 14 August 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Cardiff Joins Core Cities Group". Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "UK's big cities support launch of HS2 consultation". Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Core Cities amendment to the Localism Bill clears the House of Commons". Core Cities Group website. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "City Deals and Growth Deals". Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Bringing our country together: cities, towns and counties to get stronger powers" (Press release). 29 May 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "British urban pattern: population data" (PDF). ESPON project 1.4.3 Study on Urban Functions. European Spatial Planning Observation Network. March 2007. p. 119. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 

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