Small northern cities contribute £82 billion to UK economy, shows report
Small and medium-sized cities (SMCs) in the North contribute £82 billion to the UK economy, according to a report from think tank IPPR North.
The report, City systems: the role of smaller towns and cities in growing the Northern Powerhouse, found that the North’s SMCs contribute more to the UK than Wales and Ireland combined and make up a third of the northern economy.
The report also looked at growth rates in SMCs and found that the 20 SMCs with a population of over 75,000 have experienced a gross value added growth of 34 per cent since 2009, which the IPPR states is comparable to rates of productivity in core cities.
According to the IPPR, SMCs need to be more connected to bigger cities, and the government needs to treat them in a similar manner to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing them with support.
The report comes after think tank Centre for Cities stated in a report earlier this month that more resources need to be spent on underperforming cities in the region in order for the Northern Powerhouse to succeed.
Commenting on the report, IPPR North Director Ed Cox said: “In the same way small and medium businesses are now seen as vital to the British economy and the success of our big companies, we need to refocus policy on the North’s small and medium towns and cities, and not just the big cities – vital as they are.”