Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

UK Cities Have Led Economic Growth [...]

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

UK Cities Have Led Economic Growth [...]

Article excerpt

Byline: NICK FORBES Leader of Newcastle City Council

UK cities have led economic growth for more than 200 years, creating public services and driving social change. They have helped to invent the modern world.

Newcastle's industrial pioneers and social reformers have shaped our roads, our railways, education, policing, and water, and tackled some of the great injustices - slum housing, hunger and disease.

In many ways city-led growth is happening now. Newcastle has struck a deal with Government that allows us to borrow to fund development which will generate additional business rates that enables us to pay the loan back. In reality it's investing PS92m in our long term economic future to generate a PS1bn return over 25 years. We have earned investment in the marine and off-shore sector, with the potential to create 8,000 jobs. And, our Youth Contract Pathfinder is developing locally-shaped solutions to support 16-17 year olds into employment, education or training. Forty seven per cent of those on our local programme have progressed into employment or training, compared to just 27.5 per cent nationally, proving that some things are best done at a local level.

So, we are not seeking to convince Government that cities can be a major driver for growth - that is proven. Nor are we asking permission. Growth and innovation are the role of cities up and down the country. Instead, we are inviting Government to work in partnership with city government to deliver more and quicker. We want more powers so we can compete on a global stage and ensure UK cities are powerhouses of growth and innovation.

So what difference will this make to people's lives? It will help us provide better infrastructure, housing, employment, skills and support for businesses, along with a single framework for skills co-ordination, devolved budgets and better co-ordination of education providers; reducing duplication, saving money, getting more people into work and matching employment programmes to the needs of the labour market. …

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