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GROWTH BEYOND THE BIG CITIES Thursday 19 March 2015 Ed Cox, Director, IPPR

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Presentation on theme: "GROWTH BEYOND THE BIG CITIES Thursday 19 March 2015 Ed Cox, Director, IPPR"— Presentation transcript:

1 GROWTH BEYOND THE BIG CITIES Thursday 19 March 2015 Ed Cox, Director, IPPR

2 OECD: Drivers of future growth Highlighting new OECD research on Promoting Growth in All Types of Region Key growth drivers for fast-growing intermediate regions: –Skills & mobilisation of the labour force –Innovation and the business environment –Infrastructure & connectivity –Strong and stable institutions & policies Underpinned by access to finance

3 Framework for Northern Prosperity

4 Decentralisation Decade A call for a ‘decentralisation decade’ –10-year programme – whole-of-government approach –40 powers and responsibilities to the appropriate tiers –Fiscal devolution as a central plank – 5-year settlements, tax and independent body –New wave of combined authorities with enhanced accountability –Strengthening the constitutional status of sub-national government Between the devil and the deep blue sea

5 Problems with the big city narrative Agglomeration and the big global hubs myth / groupthink Urban hierarchies and the problem with PUAs Overlapping geographies and the distinctive and complementary role of place

6 Sheffield City Region is weakly monocentric. There are other centres of employment within the city region such as Chesterfield and Doncaster, but these are not as productive as Sheffield and attract far fewer commuters, making Sheffield the principal economic centre of the city region. However, the city region is weakly monocentric because Sheffield does not exert as strong a ’pull’ as Manchester. Source: Centre for Cities

7 The problems of smaller towns & cities Geographical isolation and/or overshadowing (predation?) Historical economy / dependency Low skills base Ageing & out- migration Social problems & poor quality of place Poor transport links Weak institutional leadership Stigma / Image

8 So what for Small and Medium-sized cities (SMCs)? Maximising local assets Enhancing connectivity Building local economic resilience Addressing institutional weaknesses

9 1. Building economic resilience Playing into / challenging the narrative –Mitigating costs and risks – welfare / public services –Building national resilience / rebalancing at lower tier Adopting a long-term approach Addressing low skills base Localisation of skills funding / system Links to FE / HE / businesses Resilience as core responsibility of LEPs / CAs

10 3. Enhancing connectivity Different places, different issues –Connections to core cities – ‘commuter towns’ –Logistics hubs –Digital connectivity Local economic strategies – big focus on collaborative action Transport for the North / transport devolution

11 Transport for the North Governance

12 4. Addressing institutional weaknesses Importance of stability & continuity Problems with LEPs and Combined Authorities –Underbounded geography –Lack of accountability –Lack of capacity –SMC lack of contact with central government Review of LEP / CA geography New wave of CAs and more systematic approach to devolution Enhanced local leadership & civic engagement Research / analysis / evaluation

13 Summary Challenging the narrative but not cutting off our noses to spite our faces –Northern Powerhouse plus –Multi-speed devolution across the board –Getting behind new political voices Leading not pleading – learning from the core cities –Better analysis – making the economic case –Better local planning & promotion –Collaboration with core cities

14 Ed Cox Director, IPPR


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