Commenting on the Autumn Statement, Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said:
“The Chancellor’s Statement today set out a much-needed focus on boosting economic growth in places across the country. In particular, the launch of the new £23bn productivity investment fund focused on innovation, broadband and transport infrastructure could help tackle the UK’s ongoing productivity problem, particularly if it is tailored to different cities and city regions.
“We also saw welcome funding to unlock housing in areas where demand is highest, the announcement of new powers and funding for London, and new borrowing powers for the metro-mayors taking office next year, reaffirming the Government’s continuing commitment to devolution in major UK cities.
“However, what was missing from today’s statement was a commitment to addressing skills-gaps in cities across the North and Midlands, which will be the single most important factor in boosting economic growth and productivity in many places. This should be a top priority in the Government’s new industrial strategy, alongside further devolution of powers over economic development to the new mayors, if it is to realise its vision of driving economic growth up and down the country.”