Recovery 'uneven' across UK cities


Liverpool is one of five cities a report says will need extra support to recover from the recession

Economic recovery will be “unevenly spread” across the country, with some cities needing extra Government help to create jobs this year, according to a new study.

Research group Centre for Cities said many areas were now “bouncing back” from the recession, including some cities hardest hit by job losses such as Hull, Doncaster and Northampton.

These cities all saw drops of 1.2% in the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the past year, more than twice the UK average, said the report.

Milton Keynes, Reading, Aberdeen, Leeds and Bristol were named as “cities to watch” amid predictions that they will be better insulated from the effects of the Government’s spending cuts and have high potential to create private sector jobs.

The study also revealed that more than one in three jobs in private companies were provided in 11 of Britain’s major cities – London, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Five “vulnerable” cities were named as Sunderland, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Swansea and Newport in south Wales, which the research group said might not feel the full benefits of economic recovery for some time.

Cities such as these will be affected more by Government spending cuts and will need extra financial support as well as a “realistic” local plan of action.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: “Buoyant cities like Leeds and Bristol, which have been fast-growing and have lots of private sector jobs, are best placed to lead the UK’s recovery. It’s time these places had new financial freedoms such as full control over the local business rate, and new powers to raise money. They could also benefit from having London-style mayors.

“During 2011, the UK cities most dependent on the public sector, and which have seen slower economic growth over the last decade, will find it more difficult to rebalance towards the private sector. These cities will need realistic plans of action to ride out the spending cuts and create jobs – but they will also need additional financial support from central Government.”

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Vulnerable cities are suffering from low skills and high joblessness that hit consumer spending and business investment, but instead of providing financial support the government is piling on the misery with deep welfare cuts. A meaningful growth strategy from this government is long overdue.”

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