SPERI and the City Growth Commission

Launch of a new report by the RSA City Growth Commission

growth-248x353One of SPERI’s Directors, Professor Tony Payne, spoke in Sheffield yesterday at the launch of a new report produced by the RSA City Growth Commission.  The launch took place at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre which is located just outside the city in Orgreave.

The Commission is chaired by University of Sheffield graduate and former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, Jim O’Neill, and is investigating what is needed for UK cities, especially those in the North, to thrive and prosper.  It will produce its final report in October but has just released the first of a series of interim reports.

This report is entitled Human Capitals: Driving UK Metro Growth through Workforce Investment and argues that economic growth is best supported by addressing skills shortages in the labour market at a metro level – with local administrations in cities having the power to control government spending on skills and set local labour market policy in ways appropriate to local circumstances.

In his remarks during a panel discussion at the launch Tony said: ‘The City Growth Commission is meeting at the AMRC, on the site of the old Orgreave coking plant.  Thirty years ago it was the site of industrial division and the battle staged there was a key moment in the destruction of the post-war social democratic order and the building of the so-called Anglo-liberal growth model that reigned supreme under all parties until the great crash of 2008.’

He went on: ‘Now we are looking for new models, new ways forward.  The City Growth Commission’s interim report about Human Capitals fits this prospect well.  It is detailed, focused and sharply delineates the skills challenges faced by contemporary Britain, and it heralds the possibility that Northern cities can collectively play a full role in the country’s political economy.  But we need to think and act on an even bigger scale.

Fully successful advanced manufacturing and a cities revival cannot take place if we carry on nationally seeking to revive the failed growth model of the last 30-40 years.  We badly need a new national model of development, a new form of Civic Capitalism.’

This last point was a reference to the recent SPERI Paper produced by Tony and Professor Colin Hay, SPERI’s other Director, entitled Civic Capitalism.  Copies of the paper have been sent to the City Growth Commissioners.