|Business growth comes in all sizes|
The North’s small & medium cities (SMCs) contribute £82bn a YEAR to UK economy, IPPR North report finds – more than Wales & Northern Ireland combined and their growth rates match those of their big city neighbours, making them essential for boosting growth in the Northern Powerhouse. The research finds that the North’s smaller cities represent one third of the Northern economy and play a key role supporting the growth of their bigger neighbours.
The report ‘City systems: the role of smaller towns and cities in growing the Northern Powerhouse’ highlights the vital role such places play in the wider economy – in sectors like advanced manufacturing, energy and logistics, key strands of the government’s Northern Powerhouse strategy. It calls for greater recognition of the complementary roles played by SMCs as part of broader ‘city systems’ to avoid the housing & congestion problems faced by London. This would be more like the kind of successful regions seen in Germany, the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.
The analysis finds that many SMCs do face significant challenges from not being better connected to bigger cities. But they can overcome these problems with a clear focus on their own economic strengths; tackling local skills problems; and collaborating with big-city neighbours.