Foreword

“Cities drive economic growth and provide jobs and homes for tens of millions. Centre for Cities’ Cities Outlook 2015 argues convincingly that devolution of power and resources from Westminster and Whitehall to city regions across the country is vital to creating a sustainable and strong economic recovery nationwide. The North/South divide provides a continuing challenge to central government to ensure that the proceeds of growth benefit every region. Cities Outlook 2015 makes an important contribution to the debate on how to best enable city regions to fulfil their economic potential. It comes at a moment of political opportunity for radical devolution, and I hope this moment will be seized across the political divide.”
Lord Andrew Adonis, Shadow Infrastructure Minister

“Whether we like the conclusions that are reached in Cities Outlook or not – we all take notice! The reports increase our understanding of what we need to do to unlock our cities’ potential and to make us more resilient to economic change. As far as I am concerned it is extremely helpful to be able to benchmark Bristol against our fellow UK cities and to take better informed decisions as a result. I believe all city leaders now recognise Cities Outlook as part of their policy armoury and value the consistent good research that is done by Centre for Cities – long may it continue.”
Mayor George Ferguson CBE, Bristol City Council

“Cities Outlook 2015 provides an important overview of the contribution that cities, both large and small, make to driving economic growth across the UK. The clearly presented and comprehensive information enables individual cities to see how they are faring in comparison to others and to identify the strengths they have to build on. But perhaps even more importantly in the lead up to a General Election, the work of Centre for Cities makes a vital contribution to the wider policy debate about the future of cities and underlines our capacity to deliver even more locally with the right freedoms and flexibilities.”
Antoinette Jackson, Chief Executive, Cambridge City Council

“Cities Outlook 2015 once again provides a unique and invaluable perspective on the economic performance of UK cities. It is now widely recognised that cities are fundamental to growing and rebalancing the UK economy, and ensuring the country can compete globally in the years to come.
Leeds has been in the vanguard of attempts to meet these challenges throughout this Parliament, striking a number of landmark agreements with central government which will help transform the local economy in years to come. It is vital that the next government builds on the progress made in recent years, and moves forward on devolving new responsibilities and freedoms to city-regions across the country.”
Tom Riordan, Chief Executive, Leeds City Council

“The time for cities is now. One striking fact, 62 per cent of the worlds economic growth in the next 10 years will come from city areas, should make us all bolt up and realise the importance of our cities. While our journey has begun with some excellent policy for cities, such as City Deals, Regional Growth Fund and the two devolution deals in Manchester and Sheffield, we still lag behind powers and tax raising at city area level.
Cities Outlook 2015 is a rallying call for why we need to accelerate the pace of devolution to our cities and see it as business as usual and not a series of one off events. It is only by having tax powers, a clear understanding of what powers needs to stay in Whitehall and good defined city economic areas can our journey really get in the fast lane.
As a former Leader of Sheffield I know the impact our cities can and will have if set free. Cities Outlook 2015 will be important in ensuring that happens.”
Lord Scriven of Hunters Bar, Former Leader of Sheffield City Council