Lords debates developing growth of major cities

20 January 2012

Members of the Lords including the vice-president of the Local Government Association debated the case for developing the growth of the UK’s major cities on Thursday 19 January.

Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat), the former Leader of Liverpool City Council, who tabled the debate spoke about cities delivering growth, driving 'the future economic performance and productivity of the UK.

'We must remember that four in five people in the UK live in an urban area and that 62 percent of jobs are located in them.

'For businesses to compete nationally and globally, they need the assets provided by cities: intellectual capital, private sector agglomeration, connectivity and investment in public services.'

He went on to highlight how 'great cities in the UK have seen a renaissance over the past decade... Indeed, eight of England's core cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester and Sheffield and their subregions alone produce 27 percent of England's wealth.'

He argued that cities 'need to develop their businesses and manufacturing capacity and ensure a skilled workforce is available. Cities need individual approaches  to match their circumstances and needs and not a universal top-down, one-size-fits-all policy.'

Baroness Eaton (Conservative) acknowledged the 'creation of local enterprise and city deals' but questioned if 'we have moved far enough towards local decision-making to allow the effective targeting of economic policy.'

She argued: 'power should continue to be decentralised... to help local councils tackle their local economic challenges and... deliver better value-for-money services... Transport needs to be improved as they affect both businesses and jobseekers.'

Lord Liddle (Labour) mentioned the government paper 'Unlocking Growth in Cities', and asked why 'we are not talking about a full-scale decentralisation but about decentralisation by exception to a limited number of cities.'

He goes on to welcome a 'single capital pot for participating cities' but queries if the government departments will all fall in line to support decentralisation.

Baroness Wilcox (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, responded on behalf of the government.

 Other Members who spoke included

Further information

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