Over the summer, the Government announced the appointment of Greg Clark as Minister for Cities.
Already Minister for Decentralisation in the department under the inimitable Eric Pickles, Clark is working as part of a ministerial group led by DPM Nick Clegg and now ranks as a Minister in BIS as well.
Clark – a former director of policy for the Tories – is well thought of in Government circles, whilst the Coalition is increasingly recognising the importance of England’s cities in driving economic growth. Cities already represent over half of the UK’s GDP.
Over the summer, Clark has been touring cities – in particular the eight ‘core’ cities outside London. He has impressed on his visits, listening and demonstrated a good grasp of the issues. With the rollout of LEPs, Enterprise Zones and the Regional Growth Fund and growing momentum for elected mayors, cities are becoming a key policy area for the Government. Add the aftermath of the riots and troubling worklessness numbers, Clark has an important job on his hands. There will be many who remain to be convinced by the Government’s approach to cities – including the lack of powers and funding for LEPs.
However, RJF believes the appointment of Clark and the establishment of the ministerial group should not be dismissed as inconsequential.
- Nick Clegg promises new deal for Britain’s great cities (blogs.birminghampost.net)
- Clegg speeds up infrastructure spending (localgov.co.uk)