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Friday, 28 May, 1999, 01:13 GMT 02:13 UK
Report highlights urban jobs crisis
Kvaerner Govan yard
Shipbuilding is no longer one of Scotland's biggest employers
Urgent steps need to be taken to improve infrastructure and skills levels in parts of the UK which are still suffering high unemployment, says a new report.

About 500,000 jobs - mainly in 'smokestack' industries such as mining, shipbuilding and steel - have been lost in Britain's 20 biggest cities in the last 18 years, say researchers from the University of Glasgow.

The report, published on Friday, was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Clydeside, Greater Manchester and Merseyside have been among the worst-hit areas, with manufacturing jobs for men particularly scarce.

The report says that while job prospects in these "Industrial Revolution" cities have worsened, there has been significant economic growth in other parts of the country.

Jobs shift

Researchers found 1.7 million jobs have been created since 1981 in areas such as south east England (outside London), Bristol, Cardiff and Plymouth.

The report said 212,000 jobs were lost in Greater London between 1981 and 1996, while 556,000 jobs were created in the rest of the south east in the same period.

man in job centre
The report says the jobless do not have enough skills
This is believed to have led to significant geographic changes in demographics.

The report said "jobs gaps" in the UK's major cities would not be able to be bridged by normal economic growth or existing government schemes such as the New Deal.

'Threat to social cohesion'

Professor Ivan Turok, one of the report's authors, said: "The urban jobs gap poses a threat to economic growth and social cohesion as well as the functioning of the labour market which policy makers would be foolish to ignore."

The report suggested cities such as Cardiff and Edinburgh had prospered because they had invested in their infrastructure and had made land available to inward investors and booming local businesses.

Prof Turok said: "There is a pressing need for economic, social and urban regeneration policies that give greater emphasis to expanding labour demand in the cities."

The BBC's Rebecca Marston: "Traditional male manufacturing jobs have died and not been replaced"
See also:

22 Apr 99 | The Economy
Road to recovery
05 May 99 | The Company File
GEC in Kvaerner talks
21 Apr 99 | Business
UK unemployment rises
19 May 99 | The Economy
UK unemployment goes up - and down
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