Headlines: November 4th, 2002

Big regional cities under perform compared to their European counterparts and could play a bigger part in improving national economic growth potential, according to a report from a working group of Government Departments, Regional Development Agencies and English Core Cities.The regeneration Minister Jeff Rooker has welcomed the findings of the report and said the working group was an excellent example of government and key partners at regional and local level “joining up” to see how their policies could be more strongly aligned to help achieve greater economic prosperity.

“Our regional cities under-perform in comparison to their Continental counterparts. We need to explore how we might strengthen their economies and international standing to benefit their surrounding regions and the country as a whole, ” said Lord Rooker.

The working group report analyses the factors which attract major strategic investment to the UK and recommends specific policy initiatives to increase the attractiveness of other regions for international investors – and help London enhance its unique global city role. It stresses the importance of identifying the distinctive role that cities can play in enhancing economic competitiveness, and how the urban renaissance can contribute to this.

Councillor Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, also welcomed the report on behalf of the Core Cities and said they believed the initiative represented a significant milestone on the path to defining and delivering the conditions that would drive up local, regional and national economic performance. It was a shining example of effective partnership working, he said, and added, ” I look forward to cementing this relationship during the next phase of work and to the production of a robust framework for action to deliver our shared objectives for economic growth, prosperity and social cohesion for our cities, regions and communities.”