Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of Core Cities UK and Leader of Leeds City Council, said:
This week's Summer Economic Update is a chance for Government to put cities and city regions and cultural revival at the heart of UK economic recovery.
We can all see that the signs for the post-Covid economy are ominous, big employers like Airbus, EasyJet and Rolls Royce have signalled big job losses, many of them affecting the cities we represent.
There is no point in trying to meet this challenge with a set of national ‘one size fits all’ solutions. What we are urging Government to consider are devolved skills, employment and stimulus packages that will not only deliver training and jobs where most needed, but are also a pathway to a green economy. Doing this would represent a bold ‘New Deal’.
Over the last few weeks Core Cities UK has put a series of proposals to Government, which have one ‘golden thread’ running through them, that recovery needs to be locally led by people who know their communities best.
But underlying these proposals is the issue of funding. Some of the UK’s largest cities – at the heart of regions that drive 26pc of our economy and are home to 20 million people – are close to bankruptcy because of Covid-19. It is as stark as that.
Revenues have plummeted while spending has mushroomed. We cannot play our part in the recovery and drive future growth for our city regions unless we are properly resourced. Cities are the drivers of UK growth, if they fail, so will their surrounding areas.
We cannot let that happen, we need a grown up conversation with Government to build a shared way forward. This is not a bail out, it is an investment in the local state that will be crucial to delivering recovery. And it is not just about more money, but also greater stability and flexibility to help us plan and budget.
Our cities generate wealth in other ways as well, for example they are world class cultural capitals, home to arts venues and orchestras theatre and dance companies that are famous around the world. Closures and redundancies are already happening and the cultural and hospitality sectors face a bleak future without continued Government support. They are part of the lifeblood of cities, critical to future prosperity and quality of life and we must do more to protect them.
Our message to Government ahead of next week's Economic Update is simple - put cities and city regions at the heart of this nation's economic recovery, we can create jobs, support business, culture and hospitality, and grow the economy. A crisis like no other needs bold and radical solutions. Give us the tools and the resources to do the job and we will deliver.
For more information, contact Will Mapplebeck, Core Cities UK on 07932 568571 or firstname.lastname@example.org