A new report by Centre for Cities finds inclusive economic growth weaker in Northern cities, and that despite higher living costs, southern cities such as Oxford and Exeter lead the country on opportunities for people with low skills.
The report, Opportunity Knocks? found that stronger economies in Southern English cities create significantly more jobs for people with fewer qualifications.
In cities with fewer high-skilled jobs there are at least two low-skilled people competing for every low-skilled job. At the other end of the spectrum, stronger cities have more low-skilled jobs than people – increasing their leverage in the jobs market.
It also compares cities with the lowest and highest unemployment rates for low-skilled people. The top four places with the highest unemployment rates for low-skilled people are all in the North or Midlands and the fifth is in Scotland.
Centre for Cities is calling for greater investment in adult education as a priority, along with a devolution of the Shared Prosperity Fund, along the lines that northern metro mayors have called for.
Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter explained that while the findings do indicate a North-South divide this is not uniform. ”In the north cities such as York, Preston and Warrington are also offering low-skill people a share in relative inclusive growth,” he said.
“Politicians to the left and right of the political spectrum talk about supporting inclusive growth. The message of this report is clear: growing cities’ overall economies is a prerequisite for creating inclusive growth.”