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Rough ride to recovery for Liverpool

Cuts to welfare and public jobs will leave us struggling more than most, warns think-tank

Published on January 26th 2011.

Rough ride to recovery for Liverpool

LIVERPOOL has been identified as one of the most economically vulnerable cities in the UK in a new report by think-tank Centre for Cities.

Along with Birkenhead, which topped the at-risk list, Liverpool has been picked out as one of five cities that will struggle to see their economies recover.

The Centre for Cities annual index, Cities Outlook 2011 claims Leeds, Milton Keynes, Reading, Aberdeen and Bristol stand the best chance of recovery from the government spending cuts.

Liverpool, Sunderland, Birkenhead, Swansea and Newport are the least likely to recover quickly due to low skill levels and a lack of business investment.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, said: "Buoyant cities like Leeds and Bristol, which have been fast-growing and have lots of private-sector jobs, are best placed to lead the UK's recovery. It's time these places had new financial freedoms such as full control over the local business rate, and new powers to raise money. They could also benefit from having London-style mayors.

"During 2011, the UK cities most dependent on the public sector, and which have seen slower economic growth over the last decade, will find it more difficult to rebalance towards the private sector. These cities will need realistic plans of action to ride out the spending cuts and create jobs – but they will also need additional financial support from central government."

Claire Maugham, Centre for Cities' deputy chief executive, said: "Cities like Liverpool have one in five of the population with no formal qualifications. Whereas in Milton Keynes, one in three people have degrees, which is a spur to investment and people moving there."

The report found that differences in demographics and economic performance mean that, just as the recovery is uneven, so the reduction of the welfare bill will affect cities in different ways.

It said: “The size of the welfare bill will be reduced in every city over the coming years. The aim of the Coalition is that this will increase work incentives and, alongside other measures to improve employability and support private sector growth, lead to an increase in those in paid employment.

“Birkenhead looks likely to be the most affected city in the country. In total, Birkenhead’s welfare cuts are likely to take at least £61 million out of its economy, which equates to a cut of about £197 per capita.

“Among Great Britain’s major cities Liverpool will be the most affected. Its cuts are projected to remove £192 for every resident in the city. This is £17 per person more than Glasgow, which is projected to be the second hardest hit major city.”

In a statement, Wirral Council's member for regeneration, councillor Andrew Hobson, and highlighted the £4.5bn Wirral Waters scheme as a potential creator of jobs.

"In the last 18 months we have helped create over 300 jobs for young people at a time when youth unemployment is at an all time high,” he added.

"We will continue to do all we can to support our existing businesses whilst also attracting new investment through our developing links with China and the marketing of the £4.5bn Wirral Waters site, which will create over 20,000 jobs at the heart of our most deprived communities."

Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson said the report highlighted the "huge disadvantages" placed on the city by what he described as "disproportionate spending cuts".

"It's crucial that we reduce the city's reliance on the public sector," added Councillor Anderson.

"Our presence at Shanghai World Expo and the establishment of The Liverpool Embassy in London are two fantastic examples of how we are doing things differently, and drawing on the city's strengths to attract vital private investment," he said.

"At the same time, we will continue to lobby the government over these unfair cuts. We are asking them to spread the reduction in spending across the life of this Parliament, to give us the chance to help ourselves."

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CEKJanuary 25th 2011.

Stop moaning Liverpool. As everyone knows, many public sector jobs were artifically created for political reasons and could never have lasted forever. Your beautiful city has some wonderful features which should be exploited to attract more visitors and create real jobs. I visit Liverpool regularly for theatre and arts which are first class. I do think you are far better placed than many landlocked jobless AND characterless places in Britain. Chin up!

Use Your LoafJanuary 27th 2011.

'Real' jobs such as floor cleaners and picturesque beggars, CEK?

If the private sector has deserted Liverpool then it is the job of the public sector to take its place. That is what it is for, to do the jobs for which the private sector is inadequate.

The public sector's workers pay their taxes and use the local private sector businesses and services making them prosper, the city improves and more attractive. Everyone benefits all round.

Cutting the public sector and throwing the workers on the dole is mere spite by a dogmatic and elitist Tory government.

It will be a return to the bad old Tory days when the skilled and educated will flee the city in droves leaving a population of unskilled unemployed and old age pensioners.

V. I. Lenin AirportJanuary 27th 2011.

Wage level around here have been amongst the lowest in the country for decades and the private sector has not bothered to bring jobs in so far.

That the Tories think the private sector will suddenly start doing it now during a deep recession shows what a slight grasp they have on reality and that really they aren't bright enough to run the country or cope at all with the real world.

Black DogJanuary 31st 2011.

The Tories like to boast at how little Cameron is being paid to run the country as Prime Minister, particularly in comparison to the Chief Executives of local authorities.

If we are to believe the Tory mantra from their last spell in government regarding high salaries for bankers, stockbrokers and the heads of privatised companies, i.e., that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, then perhaps if they put the P.M.'s salary up to reflect the level of responsibility of the post, then perhaps we'd get someone much better in Number Ten who can run the country properly?

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