Cities need to be at the heart of this strategy. In 2009, England’s cities generated 65 percent of Gross Value Added despite covering just 14 percent of the country. Cities were also home to 55 percent of firms and 61 percent of employment in 2010, meaning they will be a core component of future growth.
Over the last year the Centre for Cities has welcomed the increasing emphasis the Government has placed on cities as the drivers of the national economy. Policies such as City Deals and Whole Place Pilots, which have handed additional flexibility and autonomy to cities, are important steps towardsenabling cities to make the most of their economic potential. There is, however, more that can be done.
The powers that cities have gained to date have been somewhat fragmented, and many national policies continue to be “spatially blind”, not allowing the flexibility that will help improve the quantity and quality of outcomes for local people, firms and communities. Our Budget Submission sets out five areas which will help boost economic growth and job creation in our cities:
1. Improve skills
2. Boost housing supply
3. Stimulate local economic growth
4. Extend City Deals
5. Take a place-based approach to unemployment.
With one exception they are cost neutral to the Government, and all have the potential to be revenue positive in the future. In addition, all the recommendations fit with the Government’s devolution and localism agendas, whilst recognising that central Government continues to play an important role in providing a national framework, delivering economies of scale and providing additional support to particular places where this is needed either to stimulate higher levels of growth or help the most vulnerable.