CARLISLE has been added to a list of Key Cities - a collaboration of mid-sized cities helping to boost economic growth in the UK.

It has joined Gloucester, Medway and Swansea as new cities in the group.

Each of the new member cities brings valuable contributions to the group’s growing network, which seeks to generate awareness of the economic contributions of its member cities and to develop solutions to the constraints preventing growth and further prosperity for the UK.

In this vein, Key Cities hosted the Beyond Brexit Conference last month, exploring the challenges and opportunities of Brexit through speakers from within the Key Cities and leading representatives from prominent industrial sectors.

This has allowed Key Cities to develop policy asks to take to Government with the aim of delivering an inclusive growth agenda so that its cities can share in the economic success of the country.

Colin Glover, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “We’re delighted that our application to be part of the Key Cities Group has been successful.

“For several years, we have recognised the importance of the group and as our city grows, we were keen to be part of it.

“Carlisle has a lot to be proud of.

“We’re the beating heart of the Borderlands and ambitious plans are in place to grow the city, including St Cuthbert’s Garden Village and other economic regeneration proposals.

“We want to do everything we can to support local businesses and by being part of Key Cities, we will do everything we can to boost the local economy.”

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of Key Cities, said: “We’re pleased to welcome our new members into Key Cities as we look to expand our network of mid-sized cities right across the UK.

“These cities enhance the diverse geographic and economic spread of our membership, which is vital in ensuring we remain an authoritative and authentic voice for Britain.

“Their influence and input will help us to further advance the priorities of our member cities with policymakers and domestic and international business audiences. Beyond this welcome expansion, we are also continuing to explore opportunities for strategically growing our membership.”

By combining their unique strengths – such as greater agility and capacity to focus on very specific areas of competitive advantage – with those of the existing membership, Key Cities is enhancing its ability to address significant issues such as the rollout of the Industrial Strategy, housing supply, and addressing the skills gap across the UK.

These enhanced insights and experience of local conditions can help the group to work more closely with government to ensure policy and investment is channelled where and how it needs to be.

Collectively, the new members cover a population of 723,000, expanding Key Cities’ reach into new corners of the UK, adding another £15.6bn to the size of its collective economies, and taking the group’s current UK economic contribution to over £126bn per year.

Key Cities also held its second All Parliamentary Party Group meeting in Westminster in October, providing a forum for Parliamentarians to discuss matters of mutual interest and ensure that all of the UK’s cities are placed on a sustainable footing to deliver continued, inclusive economic growth.

The latest meeting centred on findings from the Arts Council on its cultural cities inquiry and the importance of cultural wellbeing and investment for the UK’s mid-sized cities.