OPINION: Help city to create jobs

editorial image
Have your say

They are figures to make you weep. Sheffield shed 7,500 private sector jobs while London put on 216,700 in the same period.

This city was in 61st place, out of 63, for ‘job creation’ between 2010 and 2012, according to the prestigious Centre for Cities report.

So where did all our jobs go?

Council leader Labour’s Julie Dore blames the Government, accusing it of funding cuts which shut down development Agency Yorkshire Forward, unfair treatment such as cancelling the Forgemasters loan and citing research that puts spending on transport projects in London at £2,600 per person, while in Yorkshire it is just £160.

But why is Sheffield so different from Leeds - ninth in the list and also affected by the demise of Yorkshire Forward - or Nottingham - sixth - with 8,900 new private sector jobs in those two years?

As with all these reports, the figures are already old.

And Coun Dore can point to a host of recent projects to get the city working, from apprenticeships to graduate internships and from training to start-up loans.

She has also joined a host of voices calling for more powers for the cities.

Hand us more control, she says, because we - and not some Whitehall bureaucrat - are in the best position to know what is needed to unlock growth outside of London.

The Centre for Cities agrees. England is one of the most centralised countries in the world, they say. Give cities the chance to tailor national policies to local needs and our growing reliance on London will ease.

Our leaders - through the Local Enterprise Partnership - are already looking to a devolved future with plans to create 70,000 private sector jobs in the next decade.

They have been submitted to Government which will decide this year which cities and regions have proved they can manage their own future.

Sheffield City Region LEP is generally held to be well run and is seen as a front runner in this race.

Let’s hope it is because we need more jobs.