In the wake of the Scottish referendum vote, Manchester Business School is at the heart of the rising debate over whether the English regions should be given more powers by Westminster.
Last week Jim O’Neill, honorary Professor of Economics at The University of Manchester, addressed MBS’ latest Vital Topics lecture where he told an audience of leading business figures from across the North that devolving more powers to English cities was “impractical” given the Treasury’s continued focus on cutting the budget deficit.
However he applauded efforts by Chancellor George Osborne to generate closer links between northern cities and to invite further debate among its civic leaders about how growth rates across the north could be raised. Between them Greater Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield have a population of 9m and a £154bn economy.
O’Neill, who chairs the City Growth Commission looking at the future of UK cities, said it was up to cities themselves to ask what made them different and that they needed to “be bold and think big”.