In his last Autumn Statement before the General Election, the Chancellor painted the picture of an economy on the mend, with higher growth and lower unemployment than expected, falling inflation and a deficit halved during his time in office.
New statistical standards have boosted growth projections since the Budget this year: growth in 2014 is predicted at 3 per cent and total growth since 2010 has been revised up to 8.1 per cent. On the jobs front the Chancellor claimed positive results with youth unemployment down by half, more people in work than ever before and earnings growth the fastest in a while: 4 per cent for those in work for over twelve months.
However, it is worth remembering that these national figures mask the variation experienced in different cities; while London, Cambridge and Reading are growing, other cities such as Blackpool, Hastings and Hull are still struggling to create the jobs and growth required for long-term prosperity. And whilst the Chancellor challenged the claim of an unsustainable recovery based on low pay and insecure jobs, the data is clear that the labour market is changing (and not just in the UK) with more low pay jobs than before, which is having very different implications in different cities.
This briefing looks at some of the key funding and policy commitments made by the Chancellor and their implications and likely impact on UK city economies.