As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on a year of unprecedented interest in UK cities from across the political spectrum. As our blog summary shows, there have been highs and lows, but overall it is fair to say that the big conversations are starting to be had, and that this year ends with much hope that we are finally heading in the right direction.
From the Centre’s perspective, it’s now time to turn the pre-election political rhetoric to reality, and ensure good intentions translate into the kind of transformative change we need to see to grow both local and national economies. In the lead-up to the Election, we are hoping to see all parties set out concrete commitments to devolve both structural and fiscal powers to our cities, and make sound investments in the long-term drivers of economic growth – skills, housing, transport and infrastructure.
The next edition of our annual Cities Outlook report, which this year formed the catalyst for so much of the public debate around cities in highlighting how dominant London had become in the UK economy, will be released on January 19 at City Hall. The 2015 Cities Outlook is unique in that it will map a decade of economic performance in UK cities, against a backdrop of times both boom and bust, and during which all three major parties have held power. Coming into an Election year, we are confident that this will once again stir up a raft of conversations about how best to enable our cities to fulfil their potential, and inspire a renewed ‘race to the top’ on cities policy.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has collaborated on, supported, or contributed to our work this year, and all those who have taken interest in our reports, blogs and events. We are proud of the research we have been able to produce, the roundtables and debates we have been able to convene, and the discussions we have participated in – all of which I hope has positively advanced the conversation around the economic development of our cities.
Wishing you all a safe and happy festive period, and see you in 2015.