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