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To Hull and back

The recent recession has increased the gap between city economies in the UK, according to the Centre for Cities annual index. When looking at the increases in the Job Seekers Allowance claimant count rate in November 2009, compared to February 2008, Hull fares the worst. In fact the claimant count rose from 4.8% to 8.4% over this period. At the other end of the scale, the rate only rose from 1.4% to 2.1% in Cambridge.


Cities Outlook 2010, produced by the Centre for Cities, which is a non-partisan research and policy institute, says that the UK will face an uneven recovery as we move out of recession. “Already-robust economies like Brighton are more likely to grow stronger, leaving others like Doncaster further behind.”


The Centre for Cities says that 39% of all jobs in England are based in only five cities – Greater London and the City Regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool. They also mark the cities of Brighton, Milton Keynes, Reading, Cambridge and Edinburgh as five to watch. These are identified as having strong private sectors, high levels of entrepreneurship, highly educated workforces and large shares of knowledge-intensive jobs. In fact, Brighton added 20,000 private sector jobs over the past decade, which was the highest in the UK.


Other cities such as Stoke, Burnley, Barnsley, Newport and Doncaster are cited as having a weaker business base and a much tougher outlook. All of these cities lost jobs over the past then years and they have low rates of business start ups with many of their residents having no qualifications. For example, 23% of the residents of Burnley have no qualifications compared to the GB average of 12.4%.


Dermot Finch, Chief Executive of the Centre for Cities said: “We face an uneven recovery. The national economy may be emerging from recession but cities like Brighton are likely to recover more strongly than the likes of Barnsley.


“Party leaders need to wake up to the reality that some cities will still feel in the middle of a recession until well after the election. The next Government needs to help these struggling cities fix the basics – like improving schools and public transport so they can attract new business and jobs.”

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Posted in economic growth, unemployment

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