Sir Howard introduced this event which focused on the increasingly important role of cities in driving growth in the UK.
Manchester and MIPIM favourite economist, Prof. Jim O’Neil set the context with some eye opening stats:
* 62% global GDP is generated by cities; and
* In the last 10 years, the UK’s 8 largest cities grew by nearly 10% outstripping average population growth across the whole of the UK.
Warming to the theme, Jim set out the changing macro economics in China, charting how exports are declining as growth slows, but how imports are increasing as increasing affluence generates demands for goods and services.
Against that background, Jim’s blueprint for the strategic development of the powerhouse cities in the UK was summed up in 4 points:
1. Boost road, rail and air connections to UK destinations and to the rest of the world;
2. Major development of both urban and digital infrastructure such as the Northern Hub digital initiative and the benefits to the North West of HS2; and
3. Developing skills, labour and employability.
A very positive note to finish with: It is one thing to have the principle of driving growth through cities, but there needs to be a delivery entity to achieve that – we have that in Manchester.