Glasgow has joined forces with Newcastle to try to get a fairer deal for major UK cities - just five weeks before Scots vote on whether to quit the United Kingdom.
Scotland’s biggest city has joined the Core Cities group, which campaigns for investment and freedom from Whitehall control.
The aim of the group, which also includes Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield, is to ensure the big cities have a voice at Westminster which is not drowned out by London when the Government is making decisions about investment.
But the announcement comes just weeks before Scotland votes on whether to become an independent country. A “yes” vote would mean Glasgow had little reason to lobby the UK government.
Coun Forbes said: “Glasgow is a great city which has lots in common with Newcastle and other member cities such as a skilled labour force and major infrastructure.
“It has much to offer the group and will add greater impetus to our campaign to receive more powers from Whitehall to give us the economic freedoms we need to rebalance the economy.”
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of Core Cities Cabinet, said: “On behalf of the other Core Cities I am delighted to welcome Glasgow, a great Scottish and British city into our network. This is an historic moment for our group, expanding for the first time in more than a decade and for the first time ever outside England, a move which was agreed by all eight Core Cities’ political leaders.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, a Labour councillor and Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “This is a highly significant moment as Glasgow takes her rightful place alongside our sister cities in England at the forefront of efforts to expand and re-balance the British economy. Glasgow has more in common with cities like Liverpool and Manchester than we do with many parts of Scotland.”
Instead of arguing about whether the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood or UK Parliament at Westminster was in charge, there should be agreement on devolving powers to local authorities, he said.
“Arguing over which powers should be held by Holyrood or Westminster is a sterile distraction. Power and resources should be transferred from both parliaments to city-regions if we’re serious about creating jobs.”
The Core City group has urged the Government to let cities build more housing and improve broadband networks.