Thursday, 10 June 2010

Struggling Cities outside the M25

We're reproducing this article from Regeneration & Renewal following our article about similar issues 2 days ago. The full article can be read after the 'read more' link below.

'Jobs Deficit' - Sarah Townsend,, 7 June 2010

Policymakers should seek to boost the potential of buoyant cities with a track record in generating private sector employment in order to compensate for imminent public sector cuts, an urban policy think-tank has urged.

A report published today by the Centre for Cities says that some cities, such as Stoke, Burnley and Nottingham have been losing private sector jobs for years and, due to globalisation and technological change, are no longer capable of generating enough private sector employment for the number of people living in them.
The report claims that the previous government's attempt to redress this employment deficit by creating large numbers of public sector jobs has not worked.

Rather than focusing on turning around these "struggling cities", the coalition government should support the expansion of cities such as Milton Keynes, Brighton and Preston, which are located close to international airports, universities and motorway transport links, and where businesses are already adding large numbers of private sector jobs, the report says.

It also urges the Government to relax planning rules, such as brownfield land regulations, to encourage the growth of new businesses and affordable housing in these cities.

Struggling cities and towns, meanwhile, should be realistic about their potential and focus on improving education, skills and quality of life for residents, it says.

The report estimates that 69 per cent of the 1.2 million jobs added to city economies between 1998 and 2007 were public sector positions, but up to 290,000 of these could be lost across the UK by 2014. Around 620,000 extra posts would need to be created to raise cities with the lowest employment rates up to the national average, the report says.

It identifies Brighton as the city with the fastest growth rate, having added 20,000 private sector jobs - an increase of almost 25 per cent - between 1998 and 2008. The steepest decline in private sector employment was in Stoke-on-Trent, which lost almost 21,000 jobs, or 16 per cent, during the same period.
Chief executive of Centre for Cities Dermot Finch said: "England's cities have become too dependent on the public sector and now need to generate more private sector jobs. With public spending cuts now a reality, many cities are now facing a wave of public sector job losses.

"The coalition government is right to want more enterprise and growth in the towns and cities outside the M25, but rebalancing our economy in this way will be an enormous challenge. New private sector jobs will not grow overnight, so the Government should support the further expansion of buoyant cities like Milton Keynes, where new private sector jobs are most likely to appear, and look for more realistic opportunities to develop struggling city economies like Burnley."

Private sector cities: A new geography of opportunity can be found here.

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