Reading ready for recovery

Mon 18 January 2010, 11:42 am

Reading has been named one of five "cities to watch", with the ingredients to succeed after the recession has passed, in a new report by think tank Centre for Cities.
The recession has widened the gap between UK city economies. Cities that were already suffering before the recession such as Barnsley and Stoke have been hit hardest, according to Centre for Cities' annual economic index, out today.

Over the past two years, the difference between the two cities with the highest and lowest shares of residents claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - Hull and Cambridge - has nearly doubled.

Cities Outlook 2010 finds that, as we move out of recession, the UK will face an uneven recovery. Already-robust city economies like Brighton are more likely to grow stronger, leaving others like Doncaster further behind. This raises tough questions about how they can carve out a future that's economically sustainable.

Five big hitters: the turnaround of our largest cities will be critical to the national recovery. More than one in three jobs (39%) in England is based in just five cities - Greater London and the City Regions of Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

Five to watch: Brighton, Milton Keynes, Reading, Cambridge and Edinburgh have the right ingredients to succeed after the recession has passed.  They have strong private sectors, high levels of entrepreneurship, highly educated workforces and large shares of knowledge-intensive jobs.

Brighton added the highest number of private sector jobs over the past decade -  an extra 20,000 jobs.  Over a third of its workforce is graduate-level - and one in five of its jobs are part of the knowledge economy.

Five with a tough outlook: other cities, such as Stoke, Burnley, Barnsley, Newport and Doncaster, with their weaker business base, have a much tougher outlook. These cities all lost private sector jobs over the pre-recession decade. Their rate of business start ups is low and many of their residents have no qualifications.

Read the full story here.


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