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From lost generation to regeneration: our Labour Conference fringe

From lost generation to regeneration: our Labour Conference fringe

🕔03.Oct 2012
Curated from Centre for Cities, written by Alexandra Jones
Three knights, two mayors and a Lord joined me for Centre for
Cities fringe at the Labour Party Conference on Tuesday night.

Taking place in Manchester’s
Victorian town hall, our packed-out event tackled the century-old debate of the
re-empowerment of local government. And, while the rest of the conference focused
on what Labour should do if it regains power in 2015, our panellists focused
on what they are doing to improve the success of their cities today.

Sir Richard Leese set out how he wants to improve the skills
of Manchester’s population so that the recent
success seen in Manchester’s city centre spreads out to
the rest of the city and city region. As City Deals continue to be discussed, he will be arguing for skills commissioning
powers to be devolved down to the city region level. 

Mayor Joe Anderson spoke about how becoming mayor
has put him in a better position to promote and champion Liverpool both home and abroad.

Sir Robin Wales set out how Newham’s Skills Place initiative has seen great success in getting
people into work in the Borough. Newham’s proactive approach to
working jointly with employers and jobseekers to better match jobs to jobseekers succeeded in getting 5,000 people into work last year.

Finally Lord Adonis, who is currently drawing up Labour’s
industrial strategy, challenged the party to set out what metropolitan
institutions it would like to see to support city growth. Following his support
for the mayoral campaign, he would like to see more powers devolved to city
regions to promote growth – a position the Centre has also championed for a long
time.

In discussion Birmingham’s leader, Sir Albert Bore, questioned whether academies, which are outside the control of local authorities, weakened a city’s ability to drive up educational attainment. There was no consensus on this point and it was interesting to see that opinion was divided on this topic across Conference.

At the end of his question and answer session at conference,
Ed Miliband said that Labour policy needs to be formulated bottom up, working with local authorities. On the basis of our fringe event, there’s no shortage of ideas from local government, or examples of what works on the ground and will support the local growth that the UK needs.

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