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The government and regional agencies have been focusing too much on eight core cities and city regions as the main ...
The government and regional agencies have been focusing too much on eight core cities and city regions as the main drivers of England's economy when we need to unlock the economic potential of all our areas - city and shire, urban and rural, says a new report.

The report, published today by the Chief Economic Development Officers Society and County Surveyors' Society, which together represent chief officers of local authorities outside the metropolitan areas with responsibility for strategic economic development and planning.

There is a need for action nationally and regionally but research shows that below the national level, the key layer is the sub-region. CEDOS and CSS welcome the growing recognition of this but are increasingly concerned at the government's over-emphasis on the big 'core' cities and city regions.

Linda Edworthy, CEDOS chair and a senior economic development manager with Durham CC, says: 'City regions may be right for some areas, but they are not a universal solution. Many regions have multiple centres, distinct county regions and economic zones based on particular industries or communication corridors. Imposing city regions as a 'one size fits all' solution is inappropriate and runs the risk of failing to maximize the economic potential of many areas.

'England's counties are an essential part of our economic life and it is clear that county regions are as significant as city regions as economic drivers and locations for the knowledge economy and business clustering.'

The report argues that the government and the regional agencies should not be prescriptive. They must devolve real responsibility to local and sub-regional partnerships to take action that meets the needs of their areas.

John Deegan, CSS president and strategic director for environment and economy at Warwickshire CC, says: 'We believe that elected local authorities have a key role to play in bringing together, supporting and facilitating the leadership of sub-regional partnerships to achieve improved and sustainable economic performance. If local authorities are given real responsibility for economic place shaping in their areas and have the resources to do the job, central government, local government and the regional agencies can together unlock the full economic potential of our nation and all its constituent areas'.

Making the Most of Our Economic Potential - Looking Beyond the Core Cities Executive Summary

Policy & politics

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