|Cities economies are vital to our recovery
||[Jan. 19th, 2010|01:12 pm]
The 2010 Cities Outlook demonstrates that although we have faced a global recession, the lasting routes out of it will be local and regional: jobs, infrastructure and skills need a local framework.|
The Leeds economy will be vital to the national recovery. To ensure that Leeds is at the forefront of the recovery we need to build on our strengths. That requires local and central government working together with business and with our regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward – who have already done a huge amount to support Leeds through the recession. The success of our local economic strategies today will be whether it can return to local people a true sense of control over their own economic future.
The recession has hit Leeds hard, especially with nearly 30% of our jobs in finance, IT and other business services. But, although unemployment has risen, efforts to keep jobs in Leeds have made a difference – the government’s Future Jobs Fund and the Response to Redundancy programme have helped keep unemployment below what it could have been.
Looking to our future, the long-term strength of Leeds and our ability to compete depends on skills. 22,000 extra apprenticeships in Yorkshire this year, the expansion of diplomas, and every 11 year old starting secondary school this year staying in education or training until 18 will all help. We must ensure that despite the need to cut the deficit we do not make short-term cuts that threaten the long-term health of the economy.
And, although unfashionable right now, the region must build on its strengths in financial services. As jobs in the green economy grow there will be exciting opportunities in financing these new technologies – Leeds must be at the heart of the green financial services revolution.
The economy is at a turning point, and the policies we pursue today will shape the economy of the future. To succeed we need excellent local leadership and a national government who will support us. As the Centre for Cities work shows, strong city economies are essential for a thriving and sustainable national economic recovery.
Rachel Reeves is Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Leeds West