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Core Cities puts inclusive growth at heart of new vision

The Core Cities group has put inclusive growth at the heart of its new green paper for a stronger and fairer Britain.

The group, which represents the 10 largest cities in England, outside of London, has called on the government to let cities and their people ‘get on with the job’ of raising productivity and making sure economic growth benefits everyone in a new paper, entitled Invest Reform Trust.

In particular, it calls on ministers to put inclusive growth at the heart of a ‘place-based’ industrial strategy, which in turn should be connected to local industrial strategies.

It recommends the government bring forward its plans for a Shared Prosperity Fund, which is due to start when the UK leaves the EU, so new ideas around skills, health and job creation can be trialled now.

Employment support needs to be joined up

properly with skills provision and other services

It also calls for bespoke city housing deals and a new shared vision for social housing.

‘Housing is at the centre of positive place making, and we should be taking a high quality approach, creating a sense of excellence in the everyday experience of our communities, demonstrating how we value the people that live there by giving them the sound, safe homes they have a right to expect,’ the report states.

It recommends a new platform be created between the cities and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to help assemble potential sites, facilitate development and encourage the markets in each area.

It also warns the UK needs more skilled people in low carbon industries in order to retrofit existing homes.

The report cites the case of the Slighthill transformational regeneration area in Glasgow.

According to the report, the area’s regeneration master plan aims to create a ‘vibrant, pedestrian friendly, urban residential neighbourhood’ with a diverse range of accommodation.

It adds cities should be able to coordinate and commission all relevant investment in a defined area – like housing, employment services and health and social care – over a number of years to help ‘reap big rewards’.

The report also warns skill levels across the group are ‘already too low’ with a third of adults living in the cities having no formal qualification.

‘Employment support needs to be joined up properly with skills provision and other services, like health, and signposting to skills from schools and careers and guidance needs to improve,’ the report states.

It cites the example of a programme run by the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and the local enterprise partnership, called Skills Made Easy, which has produced an employer-led training scheme for the whole region.

Writing in the report’s introduction, the chair of the Core Cities group and the leader of Leeds council, Cllr Judith Blake, said the ideas in the report ‘will help us unlock the potential of our cities and their greatest assets, their people’.

  • Read the report here.

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