Improve local transport. Raise skills levels. Regenerate city centres.
These, in one form or another, are the top priorities for most of the metro mayors to be elected in eight of England’s biggest conurbations on May 6, according to the think tank Centre for Cities.
Twenty million people will be eligible to vote for a metro mayor, including in Tees Valley, though not in North of Tyne, where Mayor Jamie Driscoll was first elected in 2019 and is not facing re-election this year.
The Centre for Cities has listed three priorities for each of the areas, most of which focus on education and skills, city centre regeneration, and local transport improvements through measure like congestion charging and bus franchising, under which transport operators provide services under contract to the local transport authority, as in London.
The Centre for Cities’ three priorities for Tees Valley are –
- Developing a thriving city centre economy in Middlesbrough, and;
- Making the city region easier to get around without a car.
According to the Centre for Cities: ‘Improving the city region’s economic performance should be the overarching objective for the mayor – GDP per worker in 2018 was £55,100, the second lowest of all mayoral areas’.