Following last month’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the Local Growth White Paper, Centre for Cities undertook a brief survey to gather views from cities. We received responses from 57 economic development professionals from 32 cities across England, Scotland and Wales, including core cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Newcastle.
• The Spending Review is having a profound influence on cities
• Cities have high hopes for new revenue streams and novel financing methods
• A majority of cities think that reforms to welfare and to universities will be bad for their city’s economy
• Cities overwhelmingly see progress from the new Government on devolution, but perceive substantial current constraints on their ability to exercise powers at a local level
• Dealing with the cuts agenda is the number one challenge for cities
• For the future, private sector success, and also the growth of certain economic sectors, are seen as the key to reviving city economies
The survey has revealed a huge appetite for devolved financial powers – but cities will need to take a reality check about how many places will be in a position to take up new measures such as TIF. The onus is now on cities, as well as central government, to take up the opportunities created by the new Government’s localism agenda. Centre for Cities will be collecting responses on key issues and developments in 2011, to see how opinion has progressed.
Senior Consultant, City Economics at Arup