The end of recess and the start of party conference season has brought with it much speculation within Westminster of a Cabinet reshuffle. But beyond the politicking, the return of Parliament has big implications for our cities – we should soon get more information on wave two of City Deals.
Nick Clegg said as much in an interview with the Times on Saturday (£). Although no direct quote was given, the article said that:
“Separately, Mr Clegg is about to invite 15 cities and towns, likely to include Cambridge, Reading and Sunderland, to claim new powers over their budgets, transport and development of skills.”
Although there is yet no detail on how cities will be selected for wave two, it’s encouraging to note that the selection of cities in the article are either fast growing (Cambridge and Reading) or medium-sized (Sunderland), as called for in our recent letter to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Fast growing cities are best placed to deliver GVA and jobs growth, and greater policy freedom should help them in supporting their economies. And a City Deal could have the biggest impact in some of our medium-sized cities where a specific issue threatens their future economic performance.
While the future prospects of our politicians could be about to be altered, decisions over City Deals could also alter their economic prospects. But it's important to note that City Deals will not be handed out to all cities, at least not in the short term. And so as an announcement nears, cities should also be preparing for what they will do in place of a City Deal too.