Uneven growth: tackling city decline

Andy Pike, Danny MacKinnon, Mike Coombes, Tony Champion, David Bradley, Andrew Cumbers, Liz Robson and Colin Wymer

While city growth is a key concern of UK economic policy, this report shows that some cities are falling behind national trends and suggests policies to ensure growth is spread more equally across UK cities.

The study analysed the fortunes of 74 cities and develops an index of ‘relative decline’ based on changes in employment rates, levels of highly-qualified workers, the number and type of full-time jobs, net migration rates and population change.

This study looked at the challenges faced by 74 cities that are struggling to balance changes in employment rates, levels of highly-qualified workers, the number and type of full-time jobs, net migration rates, population change and change in rank.

The research found that:

  • 10 of the UK’s top 12 struggling cities are based in the north – meaning some of the poorest places in the region risk being left behind by the attempts to boost economic growth and create prosperity in the north; no city in the south featured in the top 12 or 24 of the index
  • many of these cities are growing, but that the growth in many northern cities is lagging significantly behind national levels
  • economic growth alone will not necessarily reduce poverty in cities, so comprehensive and integrated packages of long-term policies around economic development, employment and skills and infrastructure are required
  • to achieve its potential, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ needs an economic strategy that addresses the needs of these underperforming cities across the north of England
  • inclusive and responsible forms of decentralisation are needed by such cities with relatively weaker economic potential while ensuring they are not disadvantaged by fiscal devolution
  • city leaders need to harness their new economic powers and resources to create opportunities for the people and places who have previously been left behind.

For more information, download the findings or full report, below.

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