The Core City Regions must be increasingly quick in responding to changing market dynamics in order to remain competitive. To reach growth targets in the next 20 years, Core Cities have to find more investment and more people with the right skills. They need better support for local businesses, improved transport, more and better housing, faster broadband, and to meet rising energy demands. Low skills and high levels of people without work still represent the single biggest barrier to increased productivity in the Core City Regions. Core Cities will need about 259,000 graduates and 443,000 people with NVQ Levels 1–3 beyond what is currently predicted.
The Core Cities Group was established in 1995 and until recently consisted of the eight largest cities in England outside London (Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield) however, Cardiff and Glasgow have now joined the Core Cities Group bringing the total to 10 cities.
Across the UK, cities take up just 9% of the land mass, but account for 58% of jobs, 60% of the economy and 72% of high skilled workers. By 2030 – before HS2 is completed– the Core Cities urban areas could put 1.16 million more jobs and £222 billion into the economy.
The Core Cities have a strong pool of highly skilled workers and compare well with their European rivals on the number of graduates they can draw from, however when compared to Germany and France our cities are not nearly as innovative as they could be. More must be done to encourage businesses to innovate, so that our cities can be global players in the ‘knowledge industries’ of the future.
Cities will not grow unless people choose to live or work there because they can access more opportunities or a better quality of life. In order to drive faster progress to an innovative knowledge-based economy and to enhance the UK’s global competitiveness, improving the UK’s skills at all levels is critical. Each city has its own economic strengths, and therefore different skill needs for its workforce.