Obama advisor to visit Sheffield as part of new project to boost city

Economic and cities expert Bruce Katz is to visit Sheffield
Economic and cities expert Bruce Katz is to visit Sheffield
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A former advisor to President Obama will visit Sheffield as part of a new economic project to sell the city on the global stage.

A former advisor to President Obama will visit Sheffield in a new economic project to sell the city on the global stage.

Sheffield’s International Economic Commission is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

It will aim to gather expert views on the city’s economic plans and build its reputation - and in the long run help to attract more investment.

US economic and cities expert Bruce Katz, former advisor to presidents Obama and Bill Clinton, is the first delegate to visit Sheffield for in-depth research in January and will focus on the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and surrounding manufacturing park.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business at Sheffield Council, met Mr Katz at a conference in Cannes and said the scheme would have ‘concrete outcomes’ rather than just being a concept.

He added: “What people always say is that Sheffield doesn’t shout enough about what it is good at and they want to see some ambition - this is exactly what this is.

“You get this right and you get better quality jobs for people that are higher paid, more business rates and council tax so more investment in services - in every way this does matter to people on the ground.”

Other ‘charettes’ - or intense periods of activity - later in the year will focus on the city centre including its proposed retail quarter and Sheffield’s outdoor economic strategy.

Council and Creative Sheffield leaders say they want the delegates to act as a ‘critical friend’ looking from the outside and ‘immerse’ themselves in the city.

In turn it is hoped this will help Sheffield city region to build beneficial relationships with other cities across the world

Coun Bramall added: “It’s about getting the very best people there are to to look at our plans and say are there things missing, things we could do better, others that we should be doing.

“We are not waiting for people to come and tell us what to do, we have been working on this things for a while, it is about getting an international perspective.”

A report will compile the findings from the sessions within a year. Coun Bramall said the costs would be ‘miminal’ and paid for by various partners. Mr Katz is not charging fees or his airfare costs.