The Fast Growth Cities are some of the strongest medium-sized cities in England. Combined, the group generates over £3,000 more GVA per worker than the British average. Additionally, they each make large contributions to the Exchequer, due in part to their high average wages – Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford providing around twice as much in economy taxes per worker as is paid out to them in Government expenditure.
But there are costs associated with a growing economy. The current strong performance of the Fast Growth Cities means that the growth challenges they face – namely transport, skills and land use issues, either for homes or offices or both – are overlooked by national Government. These costs could drag on the cities’ future contribution to the national economy if they are not addressed, as their ability to provide the conditions needed to continue to attract businesses and residents, such as housing, business space and skilled workers, is compromised.
There is considerable appetite among the Fast Growth Cities to address their challenges and continue to grow. However, the cities find that current Government policies restrict their efforts and therefore, the opportunities for future growth that they offer.
Each city has the potential to sustain its current performance and contribution to the UK economy if given the right policies and support. These need to be targeted at overcoming the challenges presented by a growing population and a strong economy.