UK Music has hailed the election of six new ‘metro mayors’ as an important opportunity to strengthen the local music scene in each of their regions.
The trade body said that the appointments will offer the chance for significant regional planning to bolster the music sector, which attracts millions of people to the areas and provides thousands of jobs.
UK Music also said the new roles will allow for a smoother planning and licensing process, which could help reverse the flow of venue closures across the UK. Furthermore, devolved powers will also enable mayors to develop music strategies to support music tourism, apply for arts funding and allow coordination across the area.
Elections for combined authority mayors have taken place in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Tees Valley (including Darlington and Middlesbrough), West Midlands and West of England (including Bristol and Bath). Among those elected are long-time supporters of UK Music’s work, Andy Burnham for Greater Manchester and Steve Rotheram who won Liverpool City.
Jo Dipple, chief executive of UK Music, said: “London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s programme targeting growth in creative industries and the night-time economy is working. The new city mayors now have a fantastic opportunity to develop similar programmes for their regions.
“One in 11 jobs are in the creative economy, while at the same time digitisation allows entrepreneurs and businesses to operate anywhere in the UK. Harnessing creative power in these regions will be incredibly powerful; for culture, for entertainment, for jobs and for the local economy.”
Music producer Steve Levine, added: “The new mayors have the potential to be a very positive thing for the music scene. Establishing a board in each of these areas dealing with all the relevant issues, whether it is licensing, planning, agent of change and all the other things that affect the music business is very, very important. We need to bring various representatives of the music community together and develop things properly to work out a strategy. It all boils down to jobs.
“It will also be incredibly helpful for these areas to have a focus for their dealings with Westminster, whichever government is in power, and in seeking whatever grants may be available for the arts.”
Last week, UK Music announced that outgoing Labour MP Michael Dugher would replace Dipple as UK Music’s chief executive when she steps down later this month after five years in the role.