Core Cities welcome city growth commission report

By on 16/07/2014 in Leader, News


The Core Cities welcome the recommendations of a report out today showing higher growth could be achieved with better targeted and better co-ordinated infrastructure investment. The report, “Connected Cities - The Link to Growth”, is the latest report by the City Growth Commission.

Economist and chair of the Commission, Jim O'Neill , says '…ambitious thinking is critical to boosting the long-term growth potential of non-London metro areas.' 

This report found a chronic underinvestment in infrastructure by global standards, estimating that this held UK growth back by 5% per annum for a decade.  It also calls for the need for a counter-balance to London and the South East.  Last year a report by IPPR North, “Still on the Wrong Track” showed transport spend of nearly £2,600 per head in London compared to just over £5 in the North East.  

The Commission want a more strategic approach to planning and co-ordinating infrastructure to boost productivity and capitalise on every additional pound spent.  City leaders need to ensure maximum benefits are achieved in their area, and work with each other  to bring about  a connected UK system, but the city voice is not sufficiently heard in national policy making at present.  This means transport, housing, digital and utility networks simply don't link up as well as they need to and this needs to change. 

The findings add further support to the proposals set out in the Core Cities Growth Prospectus last autumn.  The Growth Prospectus points to  a need for integrated transport funds, longer term funding settlements to enable better planning and powers to regulate networks similar to those of Transport for London.

Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council and Core Cities Cabinet member for Transport said:

“Jim O'Neill's Commission shows that poorly co-ordinated transport systems are holding the UK economy back.  The good news is that the measures to address this are simple.  Fewer ring-fenced budgets, longer term settlements and powers that already exist for London would make a big difference. 

There is also a desperate need to build better connectivity across the UK. HS2 is a great start, but we need to get on and deliver this now and start planning a comprehensive system that connects all our great cities.  This isn't just about 'the north' in England, but Bristol and Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow.  By working together  we will make life better for people and businesses in every UK city.” 
The Commission also call for similar measures to be extended to housing building and digital infrastructure.  Jim O'Neill concludes that 'All of these initiatives alone will not guarantee a sustained stronger rate of growth, but they are certainly necessary ingredients.  With metros taking a stronger lead, enabled by greater freedoms to deliver, we stand the best chance of delivering city growth for the benefit of the whole UK.'


Media contacts
Chris Murray
Core Cities / 0161 234 5666

Lucy James
Westbourne Communications / 020 3397 0105

Deborah Harries
Birmingham City Council / 0121 303 3287 / 0121 303 4777

Notes to editors
The Core Cities consist of: Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read online here.

The Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England's eight largest city economies outside London. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders.  For more information please visit
The City Growth Commission, chaired by economist Jim O'Neill, was established in October 2013 to lay foundations for stronger growth through a power shift from away from the centre and towards cities.  It aims to understand how to achieve complementary growth between London and other UK cities, and the fiscal powers and governance needed to sustain this. 
The Secretariat is hosted and run by the RSA, and has been funded by the Mayor of London, London Councils, the Core Cities Group, and the Local Government Association.  Partners include New Economy Manchester, the British Venture Capital Association, Universities UK and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

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