Study warns cities to work in unison

England's regional cities must co-operate to boost their economic growth, ministers and civic leaders warned last week.

In a joint report on England's eight core cities, the ODPM and the Core Cities Working Group say that by working together provincial capitals can boost economic competitiveness and speed up growth.

The transformation of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield have created a large number of jobs and brought investment to the regions, the report says.

But it insists there is more potential for economic regeneration, as England's regional cities still lag behind their European counterparts. It calls for improved transport planning, local knowledge and skills and for closer economic links with London.

Launching the report, planning minister Keith Hill said: "Alongside major investment in homes and jobs, we are seeing improvements to quality of life. Our towns and cities are becoming cleaner, safer and greener. "There is still a long way to go. But there is a sense of confidence underpinned by an unprecedented period of economic growth and stability."

Peter Arnold, Newcastle's representative on the working group said: "We have a real opportunity in the agenda established through our joint work to tackle the economic imbalance between the South East and the rest of the country."

However the report comes in the wake of contradictory evidence unearthed by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), who conclude that England's regional cities are declining.

The LSE's centre for the analysis of social exclusion points to evidence that the population of the north continues to decline while it increases in the south.

Our Cities Are Back can be viewed via www.PlanningResource.co.uk.


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