The focus of our Budget submission is on transport, skills and support for struggling places.

Briefing published on 21 March 2011 by Centre for Cities

Cities are key drivers of the national economy and a crucial component of future growth.

We highlight three policy areas that should be prioritised:

Transport: Improved transport infrastructure can release economic benefits by helping cities to co-operate and link up. Integrated transport services improve the ability of people to access jobs, supporting growth.

  • To supplement already announced larger transport schemes the Growth Review should focus on smaller-scale investments, which are likely to deliver the best value for money.
  • The Government should take a lead in encouraging cities to look at congestion charging.

Skills: Investment in skills is the most significant factor for the long-term success of city economies and the UK economy as a whole, but the UK’s skills base is failing to keep pace and the gap between successful and struggling cities has failed to narrow.

  • The Growth Review should tackle levels of achievement in schools in struggling cities to give the children living in these places a better chance of competing in the future.
  • The Review should provide incentives to reward universities for linking with business and ensuring graduates have the skills employers need.
  • The Government should introduce incentives in Enterprise Zones to encourage firms to provide skills training, for example a 75% tax rebate for training new staff and 50% for existing staff.

Support declining areas: Not all places have the same growth potential; a number have serious, inherited weaknesses. Some cities continue to experience difficulties dealing with deindustrialisation, which has serious long-term implications for their residents.

  • The particular challenges these cities face mean that we encourage the Government to introduce a Transformation Fund, to support cities which need help to adapt their built environment to lower levels of economic activity.


Download the supporting briefing – The growth conundrum: The importance of cities to economic growth in the UK