Our submission to the industrial strategy consultation provides a number of key points to consider as the strategy is developed further. In particular, it highlights the need for the strategy to be truly place-based, in order to better fulfill its aims of increasing national economic growth.
- Place should be the overarching and integrating theme in the industrial strategy, not simply one of 10 pillars. The varying performance of the same industry across cities suggests that it is ‘place’ that is the biggest factor in the varying performance of cities across the country, not sectors.
- Skills should have a central role in any strategy. Those cities that have been able to attract high-skilled jobs are those that have high-skilled workforces for businesses to recruit from.
- Greatly enhanced (rail and road) connectivity between and among northern cities would help them function as an integrated ‘regional system of clustered cities’. Such improved connectivity would confer positive externalities associated with labour supply, knowledge spillover and inter-firm supply chains.
- Policy should give explicit priority to promoting the export (tradable) base of cities. Northern cities especially need to increase the export competitiveness of their activities, including knowledge based services.
- A stable, properly resourced and long-term policy framework is needed to help improve the fortunes of struggling cities. This requires an appropriate nation-wide geographical network of regional or urban-region economic/industrial bodies.