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Supporting ‘urban Britain’ goes beyond city boundaries

Greg Clark’s recently announced role as new minister for cities is a welcome move. Nicola Steuer’s recent column provides some interesting ideas on the kind of topics that the minister might consider developing.

Action for Market Towns firmly believes that he should not forget the valuable role that smaller towns provide as hubs of enterprise and social cohesion, and how they complement rather than serve adjoining cities and city-regions.

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.

We know that Greg Clark’s role will be to work across the departments of Communities and Local Government, and Business, Innovation and Skills. His role, however, is currently quite narrowly defined to ‘consider the impact of policy on England’s largest urban areas’.

His new appointment thus presents a great opportunity to develop the complementary interaction between cities and the smaller towns in their hinterland.

His ability to work cross-departmentally will also provide him the opportunity to further develop the impact of policy on smaller towns. For example, we presume that his work will be informed by BIS’ work on the Portas review.

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