Wakefield Council leader Peter Box to chair Key Cities Group

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The leader of Wakefield Council has been appointed as the new chairman of a lobbying group of 21 local authorities.

Councillor Peter Box has taken up the role for the Key Cities Group, which was set up in 2013 with Wakefield as one of its founding members.

He has replaced Sunderland Council leader Paul Watson as chairman of the organisation, which brings together cities classed as having “mid-sized” populations and economies.

Coun Box, who has led Wakefield Council for 19 years, said Key Cities councils had seen bigger economic growth than larger “Core City” areas since 2008.

He said: “I am delighted to take up this role and am keen to build on our achievements over the last four years.

“Our message is clear. If you want to achieve more growth, more quickly, then Key Cities are best placed to deliver this.

“We will be working closely with ministers on the government’s industrial strategy and it’s clear that ministers already have a better understanding of the benefits of investing in the Key Cities.”

The Key Cities councils are Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bradford, Coventry, Derby, Doncaster, Hull, Kirklees, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea Sunderland, Tees Valley, Wakefield, Wolverhampton.