Smaller towns have always suffered during policy development because there is no currently agreed government method for statistically separating them from other urban areas. This should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
July 2011 - NewStart
There are many people who have a traditional view of Salford. They remember it as a slum city with Lowry’s matchstick inhabitants… They often seem a little disappointed there are no children with rickets or outside public toilets anymore.
The white paper contains a number of good ideas on how to bring innovative and quality services to the market place. The devil is in the detail – and the detail must inform a positive and active debate, one that ensures we do not slide into a de facto privatisation of public services.
With such examples of clear methods of how plurality of public service can lead to better delivery it’s curious that the words collaboration and co-production are absent from the government’s vision. Instead there is a sense of outsourcing as casting off, of government opening up markets and then disengaging.
In a grown up world – even, dare I say it, a ‘big society’ we must be allowed to have disagreements in our partnerships. These should be manageable but should allow us to dig deeper into issues in order to find true solutions.
Within the context of greater decentralisation, the core cities (and others) now have the opportunity to grasp new economic techniques and to play a lead role in ensuring the resilience and effectiveness of their local economy.
There is a growing concern among respondents that Londoners and the VCS who support them are being hit harder than ever due to the continued impact of the poor economic climate and the additional impact of the current public sector spending cuts.
Let’s not forget the real problem here, it’s not the north – it’s UK’s economic centralism. Thus, this shouldn’t be about just flying the flag for England’s north but about standing up against economic centralism and bringing about fundamental economic change and a new economic localism.
There is a clear commitment from the coalition to localism and decentralisation, and along with upcoming proposals to reform local government finance, community budgeting is arguably one of the most powerful mechanisms of doing so.
If cities matter, they matter because people are there. If people are there, they are on the streets. If we started thinking about the city from the perspective of people who lived and worked at the basic scale of the street, the public realm, and worked outwards from this, how different would the way we make and manage cities look?