This is a longer version of our interview with Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister, published in today's Birmingham Mail in advance of the Lib Dem conference, which begins on Saturday:
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised a "new deal" for Britain's major cities with Birmingham in the lead, to cut unemployment and place them on a more equal footing with London.
The Liberal Democrat leader was speaking to The Birmingham Mail as he prepared for his party's annual conference, beginning this Saturday in Birmingham's International Convention Centre.
Mr Clegg said the days when the nation depended on "the fat cats of the city of London" to keep the economy moving had ended for good.
Instead, he had ordered Cabinet colleagues to make sure the great regional cities were involved in key Government decisions.
And he revealed that Ministers planned to negotiate contracts with the core cities so it was clear what central government should be doing to help them thrive.
In July, the Government appointed MP Greg Clark as Minister for the Cities, reporting to a panel chaired by Mr Clegg which also includes Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Business Secretary Vince Cable.
Mr Clegg told The Birmingham Mail: "Greg Clark will now go and have a number of separate discussions with all the individual cities including Birmingham so that we can as a Government decide on the contracts or deals which should exist between central government and each individual city.