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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 07:25 GMT
Northern cities 'improve on jobs'
Half of the most improved cities in the UK for job growth are in the north of England, research shows.

However, the study of 56 cities and towns by the Centre for Cities found that the northern cities still have below average employment rates.

Doncaster and Sunderland still had employment rates "considerably" below the national average, but were among the most improved for new jobs.

Communities minister Hazel Blears said cities had improved in the past decade.

'More to be done'

"Where once the wrecking balls demolished the factories and warehouses in our city centres, today the cranes fill the skyline building the cities of the future.

"We all know there's more to be done, and issues like poverty to be tackled," she said.

"But let no-one fall into the trap of talking our cities down, or pretending things haven't improved in the past decade."

The report shows that, out of the top 10 improving cities - based on employment growth over 10 years - four are northern.

Doncaster ranked sixth, Sunderland seventh, Sheffield ninth and Warrington was the tenth most improved city.

However, employment rates for these northern cities were still considerably below the national average, the research suggested.


The centre looked at economic performance within cities as well as between cities and found "inequalities" across the UK, with some large areas known for their regeneration and new buildings being the most unequal.

It concluded that Manchester was the most unequal city in England, as "less than a mile from Manchester's new Piccadilly Station (and London's Canary Wharf), there are entrenched pockets of worklessness and underperforming housing markets".

Our biggest cities like Birmingham, Manchester and London are polarised within their own boundaries
Dermot Finch
Director of Centre for Cities

The Centre for Cities is an independent urban policy research unit that works to understand how and why economic growth and change takes place in Britain's cities.

The centre's director, Dermot Finch, said: "These figures show that it's less 'grim up north'.

"Cities like Warrington and Doncaster are on the up, but need to sustain this momentum over many years if they are going to catch up with the likes of York and Milton Keynes.

"Our biggest cities like Birmingham, Manchester and London are polarised within their own boundaries.

"They need to address the deep-rooted wealth inequalities on their own patch, by moving beyond constructing shiny new buildings if they are to continue to grow."

Population change

  Population 2006 Annual Growth Rate
Fastest growing    
Oxford 149,100 1.40%
Milton Keynes 224,800 1.30%
Telford 161,900 1%
York 191,900 0.90%
Cambridge 117,900 0.90%
Swindon 186,600 0.80%
Southampton 347,600 0.70%
London 8,757,200 0.70%
Bristol 664,900 0.70%
Norwich 251,700 0.70%
Slowest growing    
Grimsby 158,900 0.00%
Birmingham 2,293,500 0.00%
Stoke 363,500 -0.20%
Newcastle 807,000 -0.20%
Birkenhead 393,000 -0.30%
Glasgow 580,700 -0.30%
Hull 256,200 -0.30%
Liverpool 765,000 -0.30%
Sunderland 280,600 -0.40%
Belfast 267,400 -0.80%
Great Britain 58,845,700 0.40%


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