January 21, 2013
The Centre for Cities has today published the latest issue of its flagship Cities Outlook report in conjunction with the Local Government Association. The report has been published annually since 2008, identifying trends and key economic indicators from the UK’s largest cities. This year’s report is extensive in its coverage of a range of issues but focusses on construction, especially of housing, as an engine of growth. Several towns including Milton Keynes, Brighton and Northampton are singled out for their high levels of private sector investment and employment.
Meanwhile towns such as Middlesbrough and Swansea with large public sector workforces, poor skillbases and a dependence on poorly performing sectors such as manufacturing, continue to fare relatively poorly. The result has been a ‘recession of two halves’ according to the report with the second consisting of the stuttering since 2009. So while the 2008 downturn affected mainly the private sector which responded by laying people off, it has also been quicker to recover, at the same time as the government’s public sector cuts began to kick in.
Alexandra Jones, the Centre for Cities’ chief executive, said: “Future economic growth will depend on making the most of the untapped potential in UK cities. Policy that can adapt to local needs and greater devolution of powers and funding to cities could be the recipe that the UK economy needs to get back to sustained economic growth.”
Her words will resonate with the Cabinet for Core Cities which, as we reported here, held its first meeting last week and has written to the Prime Minister to ask for a greater focus on regional economic development.