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News Release


UK City leaders: Greater autonomy will facilitate regional and national economic prosperity

Competition for investment increasingly between cities, not countries

​MIPIM, 11th March 2015 – Strong leadership and greater control over policy on infrastructure and tax is key to attracting investment and growing the UK economy, according to City Leaders in a panel session at MIPIM this year.

The event, entitled, “UK City Leadership- Power, Authority and Investment,” examined the need for more UK cities to have control over policy setting on issues such as skills, planning, transport, tax and business rates to make them more competitive. This is in the context of capital flows into UK cities beyond London amounting to £28bn in 2014, marking a 70% increase on the previous year.

Sir Eddie Lister, Deputy Mayor of London, Howard Bernstein and Mark Rogers, leaders of Manchester and Birmingham respectively, were speaking at a seminar hosted by JLL and property networking forum Movers & Shakers at MIPIM, the international real estate conference in Cannes. They were joined by the chairman of UK Trade & Investment, Sir Michael Bear and the panel was chaired by JLL UK CEO Guy Grainger. A key note presentation was given by Rosemary Feenan, a cities research expert at JLL.

The debate discussed the speed and change of autonomy of how world cities are transforming, pushing sustainability and creating new value propositions for themselves being key on the agenda for UK leaders, both centrally and in local Government.

Guy Grainger, UK CEO at JLL comments: “Leadership is the key to unlocking cities’ competitiveness. Strong governance and control over education, up-skilling the workforce and good infrastructure are all very important attributes in attracting investment but cities need strong local leadership to underpin their appeal and resilience.”

Jon Neale – Head of UK Research at JLL adds: “Looking at the property industry, JLL’s research shows that corporates are becoming far more data- and analysis-driven in property decisions. Greater freedom for cities to hone a distinctive offer for businesses – particularly around skills – could help them to attract companies looking to reshore or ‘northshore’ parts of their operations.”

Guy Grainger concludes: “Cities that have the freedom to set their own policies according to their own local strengths and opportunities are best placed to thrive. In the US and on the continent, many cities already have that autonomy. In a world where competition for investment is increasingly between cities and not countries, we can’t afford to allow our cities to fall behind.”