A major report into the economic future of the UK’s northern cities has been published by the City Growth Commission, just weeks after its chairman addressed the subject at a Manchester Business School lecture.
Last month Jim O’Neill, Honorary Professor of Economics at The University of Manchester, told attendees at MBS Vital Topics how granting more powers to cities should form an essential part of a new deal for the north.
Today, in its official report Unleashing Metro Growth, the City Growth Commission calls for the creation of a northern supercity tagged ManSheffLeedsPool, and says cities should be granted more devolved powers in parallel with Scotland. Describing Britain’s centralised political economy as “not fit for purpose”, the report also recommends heavy investment in transport to help close the income gap with the south, and says city devolution for its northern cities could boost the UK economy by £79bn a year by 2030.
In conversation with Andy Bounds, North of England correspondent and Enterprise Editor at the Financial Times, O’Neill said it was also up to cities themselves to ask what made them different and to think bold and big, while welcoming recent moves by Chancellor George Osborne to foster closer collaboration among northern cities in areas such as transport infrastructure.