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I caught a falling star
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Tories' favourite thinktank brands northern cities failures

· Pay migrants to move south, says report
· Blow for Cameron push in north-west marginals

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
The Guardian,
Wednesday August 13 2008
Article history

A Tory push to win back seats in the north of England suffers a blow today with the party's favourite thinktank declaring that key cities, such as Liverpool and Sunderland, have "failed" and people should be paid to move south.

David Cameron, who will today embark on a tour of nine marginal seats in the north-west, was last night forced to distance himself from the report after Labour accused the Tories of dismissing large swaths of Britain as "worthless".

Chris Grayling, the shadow minister for Liverpool, said: "This independent report does not reflect Conservative party policy and we do not agree with its conclusions. We wholeheartedly support the regeneration of northern cities." The Policy Exchange thinktank, which enjoys strong links with the Tory leadership, called on the government to accept the "uncomfortable truth" that many northern towns, which grew up in the industrial revolution, have no hope of being regenerated in the 21st century. Central regeneration budgets should be rolled up and local authorities allowed to spend the money as they like, either on helping people to move south or on council tax cuts.

The report, Cities Unlimited, says: "Many of Britain's towns and cities have failed - and been failed by policy makers for too long. It is better to tell uncomfortable truths than to continue to claim that if we carry on as we are then things will turn out well. Just as we can't buck the market, so we can't buck economic geography either. Places that enjoyed the conditions for creating wealth in the coal-powered 19th century often do not do so today.

"Coastal cities, whether large like Liverpool and Hull, or small like Scunthorpe and Blackpool, are most vulnerable ... They are almost always at the end of the line. They have lost their raison d'etre [as ports] and it is hard to imagine them prospering at their current sizes.

"Sunderland demonstrates just how hard it is to regenerate such a city. It is time to stop pretending there is a bright future for Sunderland and ask ourselves instead what we need to do to offer people in Sunderland better prospects."

The report says that all the 3m new homes planned by the government should be built in just three southern cities - London, Oxford and Cambridge. It says: "Cities based on highly skilled workers are the most dynamic. Oxford and Cambridge are unambiguously Britain's leading research universities outside London." People in the north should be told bluntly that their best chance of an affluent future is to move south. "No one is suggesting that residents should be forced to move, but we do argue that they should be told the reality of the position."

Tim Leunig, an economist from the London School of Economics who co-wrote the report, admitted that some people will see his ideas as "unworkable, unreasonable and perhaps plain barmy".

Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: "This report from David Cameron's favourite thinktank has just dismissed a huge area of the country as worthless. Is it any wonder there are no Tory councillors in Liverpool when for all their warm words they have not changed a bit?"
 

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I caught a falling star
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Discussion Starter #2
Didn't know this was being discussed elsewhere, apologies....
 

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I caught a falling star
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Discussion Starter #7
Fury as think tank advocates scrapping regeneration of Liverpool
Aug 13 2008 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Daily Post

Tory leader David Cameron’s favourite think tank advocates scrapping Liverpool’s renewal. Ben Schofield reports

REGENERATION in Liverpool should be abandoned and thousands of its residents told to move south, according to David Cameron’s favourite think tank.
A report published today says housebuilding in Merseyside and the north should be scrapped and the planned 3m new houses in the UK should all be built in London, Oxford and Cambridge.
And one of its authors expects Liverpool to lose half of its population over the coming years as workers are lured to London or the “regional hub”, Manchester.


The report says the UK’s once-great port cities like Liverpool have lost their “raison d’etre” in a world economy driven by road haulage and air freight.
Cities Unlimited, published by the right-wing Policy Exchange, is the last in a trilogy of reports assessing the future of urban Britain.

Last night the North West’s leading civil servant lambasted the report as “offensive” and “errant nonsense”.
It also recommends a liberali-sation of planning laws to allow London’s high-value industrial land to be turned into housing for the millions due to desert the North.

Because “a decade of regenera-tion policies has failed to stop the inequality of opportunity” be-tween cities like Liverpool and the South East, Government handouts should also be scrapped or reformed.
A Policy Exchange statement launching the report said it is time to be “realistic about the ability of cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to re-generate struggling nearby towns such as Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland”.

As a port city at the end of the road network, Liverpool can’t help living in the shadow of Manchester, the report states.
Talent will continue to drain out of the city as it is attracted to the better job prospects and higher quality of life elsewhere.
The report adds: “Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland are all large. But they are not rich, quite the reverse. These are cities with a particular problem: although large, they are not the hub cities for their areas.
“Coastal cities, whether large like Liverpool and Hull, or small like Scunthorpe and Blackpool are most vulnerable... They have lost much of their raison d’etre, and it is hard to imagine them prospering. It is very hard to see conditions in Liverpool... improving relative to local rivals, or the national average, in any conceivable time frame.”

Last night co-author Dr Tim Leunig told the Daily Post: “No doubt some people will claim that these proposals are unworkable, unreasonable and perhaps plain barmy.
“But if (Liverpudlians) want to be as prosperous as the average person in the UK, then they would have to move.
“It’s very hard as a port city to record the advantages of somewhere like Milton Keynes or London.”
Asked what is wrong with Liverpool, Dr Leunig added: “People aren’t starving, but you’re quite a lot poorer than the rest of the UK and you’re not closing the gap and that’s with a lot of regeneration funding.
“I think there could be hard times yet for Liverpool. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was wrong.
“I would love Liverpool to be as rich as the rest of the country.”

If the policies suggested in his report became reality, Dr Leunig said he would expect the city region’s population to fall by around 50% over the next five decades.
However, the remaining population would live in larger houses and have more open space.

He and co-authors Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich and James Swaffield – whose parents are from Merseyside – are urging policy-makers to ditch plans such as the Housing Market Renewal Initiative, which aims to demolish and refurbish old housing stock, building new homes in its place.
They say the Government should buy vacant houses and give them to their neighbours in return for a share in the larger property. Some of the industry currently housed in London would move to Merseyside as it made way for the 1m extra houses to be built in the capital, they claim.
Oxford and Cambridge – as research centres – should each swell by another 1m properties each.

Dr Leunig, who said he couldn’t remember the last time he visited Merseyside, advised a moratorium on building homes in the region.
He said: “You don’t really want to be building additional houses in Liverpool – that’s not sensible.
“It costs the same to build a house in Oxford but it’s worth more.
“I’m sure if you offer people a house in Cambridge for the same price as their house in Liverpool, a lot of people would jump at the chance because you’re more likely to get a job in Cambridge and it’s more likely to be higher paid.”
He added: “People may prefer to be unemployed in Liverpool than employed in Basingstoke. But I think people want to have a job.”
As for the Capital of Culture boost, Dr Leunig said although the city centre “looks great now, I wonder, in five years’ time, how many of these things will still matter”.

The report’s authors were last night at the centre of a whirlwind of criticism.
Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool city council said: “The past decade has seen unprece-dented growth in Liverpool’s economy, which has surpassed many southern towns and cities. Millions of visitors during our Capital of Culture year have seen for themselves the massive investment which is trans-forming Liverpool into a top European city.
“Even the report’s authors said it was likely to be dismissed as barmy. It’s the only thing they got right.”
Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman added: “This report from David Cameron’s favourite think tank has just dismissed a huge area of the country as worthless.
“Is it any wonder there are no Tory councillors in Liverpool when for all their warm words they have not changed a bit?
“Liverpool is an excellent example of a city regenera-ting fast – with unemploy-ment halved and increasing inward investment in the year we celebrate being European Capital of Culture, we should be talking up our city not doing it down.”


Who are policy exchange?
THE report’s authors:
Dr Tim Leunig is lecturer in economic history at the London School of Economics.
He wrote his Phd on the Lancashire cotton industry and has advised Parliament, the Treasury and the Department for Transport.
James Swaffield is a research fellow at Policy Exchange carrying out research on cities and urban policy.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich is chief economist at the think tank with responsibility for economic competitiveness.
Policy Exchange’s Trustees:
Charles Moore: chair of the board of trustees. He is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph and Spectator columnist.
Rachel Whetstone: former-Conservative leader Michael Howard’s chief of staff while he led the party. She is Godmother to David Cameron’s son Ivan.
Theodore Agnew: donated £50,000 to Conservative Central Office in February.
Richard Briance: deputy chairman of Hawkpoint Partners, a leading city corporate finance advisory firm and has donated £11,900 to the Conservatives since 2002.
Richard Ehrman: special adviser to the Employment Department in the 1980s and was chief leader writer at the Telegraph in the 1990s.
The other trustees are Camilla Cavendish, Robin Edwards, Virginia Fraser, George Robinson, Andrew Sells, Tim Steel and Alice Thomson.
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Fiat Lux
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I think it does deserve its own thread. Yes it's poor research but it demonstrates a mindset that is worrying and it taps into a vision of the future that doesn't include 'The North'.

These people were saying this stuff about three years ago - I have a recollection of the 'end of the line' analogy. The fact that Cameron comissioned a report from people who were already thinking in this direction is indicitive of one of two things: he lacks political judgement or he shares the same view.

The Tories are doing their best to distance themselves from the report but if the local media is anything to go by the damage has well and truly been done.
 

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PhD on the cotton industry (where we wonder?). Well known in (regionalist) Whitehall.

Apparently Liverpool is not the hub to its region. Yes it is. Oh you mean the Government-invented "North West" region. Well, Manchester is not a the hub of that either, unfortunately for them, because another city region hub has been corralled into it. Manchester is certainly the hub of Greater Manchester. Good for them.

It all now becomes clear and why this strange little man has been desperate to drag reviving Liverpool into his report and indeed to highlight it in the report. "Manchester cannot regenerate Liverpool." No it can't; it is a rival city, its revival was partly at the expense of Liverpool and now that Liverpool is reviving also, Liverpool is again providing competition to it. And this is causing the regionalist enemy alarm, resulting in absurd reports like today's.
 

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Fiat Lux
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Fury as think tank advocates scrapping regeneration of Liverpool
Aug 13 2008 by Ben Schofield, Liverpool Daily Post

Tory leader David Cameron’s favourite think tank advocates scrapping Liverpool’s renewal. Ben Schofield reports

REGENERATION in Liverpool should be abandoned and thousands of its residents told to move south, according to David Cameron’s favourite think tank.
A report published today says housebuilding in Merseyside and the north should be scrapped and the planned 3m new houses in the UK should all be built in London, Oxford and Cambridge.
And one of its authors expects Liverpool to lose half of its population over the coming years as workers are lured to London or the “regional hub”, Manchester.


The report says the UK’s once-great port cities like Liverpool have lost their “raison d’etre” in a world economy driven by road haulage and air freight.
Cities Unlimited, published by the right-wing Policy Exchange, is the last in a trilogy of reports assessing the future of urban Britain.

Last night the North West’s leading civil servant lambasted the report as “offensive” and “errant nonsense”.
It also recommends a liberali-sation of planning laws to allow London’s high-value industrial land to be turned into housing for the millions due to desert the North.

Because “a decade of regenera-tion policies has failed to stop the inequality of opportunity” be-tween cities like Liverpool and the South East, Government handouts should also be scrapped or reformed.
A Policy Exchange statement launching the report said it is time to be “realistic about the ability of cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to re-generate struggling nearby towns such as Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland”.

As a port city at the end of the road network, Liverpool can’t help living in the shadow of Manchester, the report states.
Talent will continue to drain out of the city as it is attracted to the better job prospects and higher quality of life elsewhere.
The report adds: “Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland are all large. But they are not rich, quite the reverse. These are cities with a particular problem: although large, they are not the hub cities for their areas.
“Coastal cities, whether large like Liverpool and Hull, or small like Scunthorpe and Blackpool are most vulnerable... They have lost much of their raison d’etre, and it is hard to imagine them prospering. It is very hard to see conditions in Liverpool... improving relative to local rivals, or the national average, in any conceivable time frame.”

Last night co-author Dr Tim Leunig told the Daily Post: “No doubt some people will claim that these proposals are unworkable, unreasonable and perhaps plain barmy.
“But if (Liverpudlians) want to be as prosperous as the average person in the UK, then they would have to move.
“It’s very hard as a port city to record the advantages of somewhere like Milton Keynes or London.”
Asked what is wrong with Liverpool, Dr Leunig added: “People aren’t starving, but you’re quite a lot poorer than the rest of the UK and you’re not closing the gap and that’s with a lot of regeneration funding.
“I think there could be hard times yet for Liverpool. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I was wrong.
“I would love Liverpool to be as rich as the rest of the country.”

If the policies suggested in his report became reality, Dr Leunig said he would expect the city region’s population to fall by around 50% over the next five decades.
However, the remaining population would live in larger houses and have more open space.

He and co-authors Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich and James Swaffield – whose parents are from Merseyside – are urging policy-makers to ditch plans such as the Housing Market Renewal Initiative, which aims to demolish and refurbish old housing stock, building new homes in its place.
They say the Government should buy vacant houses and give them to their neighbours in return for a share in the larger property. Some of the industry currently housed in London would move to Merseyside as it made way for the 1m extra houses to be built in the capital, they claim.
Oxford and Cambridge – as research centres – should each swell by another 1m properties each.

Dr Leunig, who said he couldn’t remember the last time he visited Merseyside, advised a moratorium on building homes in the region.
He said: “You don’t really want to be building additional houses in Liverpool – that’s not sensible.
“It costs the same to build a house in Oxford but it’s worth more.
“I’m sure if you offer people a house in Cambridge for the same price as their house in Liverpool, a lot of people would jump at the chance because you’re more likely to get a job in Cambridge and it’s more likely to be higher paid.”
He added: “People may prefer to be unemployed in Liverpool than employed in Basingstoke. But I think people want to have a job.”
As for the Capital of Culture boost, Dr Leunig said although the city centre “looks great now, I wonder, in five years’ time, how many of these things will still matter”.

The report’s authors were last night at the centre of a whirlwind of criticism.
Cllr Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool city council said: “The past decade has seen unprece-dented growth in Liverpool’s economy, which has surpassed many southern towns and cities. Millions of visitors during our Capital of Culture year have seen for themselves the massive investment which is trans-forming Liverpool into a top European city.
“Even the report’s authors said it was likely to be dismissed as barmy. It’s the only thing they got right.”
Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman added: “This report from David Cameron’s favourite think tank has just dismissed a huge area of the country as worthless.
“Is it any wonder there are no Tory councillors in Liverpool when for all their warm words they have not changed a bit?
“Liverpool is an excellent example of a city regenera-ting fast – with unemploy-ment halved and increasing inward investment in the year we celebrate being European Capital of Culture, we should be talking up our city not doing it down.”


Who are policy exchange?
THE report’s authors:
Dr Tim Leunig is lecturer in economic history at the London School of Economics.
He wrote his Phd on the Lancashire cotton industry and has advised Parliament, the Treasury and the Department for Transport.
James Swaffield is a research fellow at Policy Exchange carrying out research on cities and urban policy.
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich is chief economist at the think tank with responsibility for economic competitiveness.
Policy Exchange’s Trustees:
Charles Moore: chair of the board of trustees. He is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph and Spectator columnist.
Rachel Whetstone: former-Conservative leader Michael Howard’s chief of staff while he led the party. She is Godmother to David Cameron’s son Ivan.
Theodore Agnew: donated £50,000 to Conservative Central Office in February.
Richard Briance: deputy chairman of Hawkpoint Partners, a leading city corporate finance advisory firm and has donated £11,900 to the Conservatives since 2002.
Richard Ehrman: special adviser to the Employment Department in the 1980s and was chief leader writer at the Telegraph in the 1990s.
The other trustees are Camilla Cavendish, Robin Edwards, Virginia Fraser, George Robinson, Andrew Sells, Tim Steel and Alice Thomson.
Keep up to date with the news. Sign up for News Alerts E-Newsletters
It's difficult to evaluate a series of statements. Whats stats do they produce? What time frame are they taken from?
 

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I caught a falling star
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I think it does deserve its own thread. Yes it's poor research but it demonstrates a mindset that is worrying and it taps into a vision of the future that doesn't include 'The North'.

These people were saying this stuff about three years ago - I have a recollection of the 'end of the line' analogy. The fact that Cameron comissioned a report from people who were already thinking in this direction is indicitive of one of two things: he lacks political judgement or he shares the same view.

The Tories are doing their best to distance themselves from the report but if the local media is anything to go by the damage has well and truly been done.

You're totally right about a separate thread Baboo. When you think of the amount of retarded shite spouted by unreconstructed right-wing freaks about how Liverpool
'needs to cut-loose and embrace the dark-side because, somehow, it'll piss off Manchester, the Guardian and the BBC off,' Liverpool becoming the new capital of Prussia or something.

Well, the lie to that is in this report isn't it?


The Tories may well be angling to distance themselves from their own report, but I think it's very obvious now that the right can't be
trusted to solve the problems of Liverpool's regional subservience.

They started it, and now 20 yrs on, they're going advocating going the whole hog and closing the deal.

Worrying.
 

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Fiat Lux
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You're totally right about a separate thread Baboo. When you think of the amount of retarded shite spouted by unreconstructed right-wing freaks about how Liverpool
'needs to cut-loose and embrace the dark-side because, somehow, it'll piss off Manchester, the Guardian and the BBC off', and that Liverpool will escape the enslaught to become the new capital of Prussia or something.

Well, the lie to that is in this report isn't it?
I'm not aware of anyone advocating the need to 'cut-loose and embrace the dark-side because, somehow, it'll piss off Manchester, the Guardian and the BBC off', and that Liverpool will escape the enslaught to become the new capital of Prussia or something. Maybe that's your own reading of some of the debates on here?

I think the report is an interesting illustration of how politicians rely on academics to do their thinking for them at their peril. At every level this report is full of holes. Bammy remarked on its 'April Fool' quality and that about sums it up. Even the authors recognise that is will appear 'barmy'.

I can't believe it was put out. Maybe someone made a judgement call that pulling it would just read to an avalanche of rumours that were more damaging to the Tory paty than the pap contained in this report.

It certainly reveals that the Tory party hasn't moved on in its thinking about the north. It will be interesting to see how/if they pull this one out of the fire.

It's so preposterous that it has 'August silly season for politics' written all over it. Maybe it will be forgotten about when parliament reconvenes in the autumn?
 

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Villiers is (badly) lampooning Sebo. He misses the point. Sebo is right that the BBC, New Labour and plenty of the rest of the liberal part of the establishment hates Liverpool. What Sebo gets wrong is his blindness to the fact that much of the right-wing branch of the same national establishment hates Liverpool also. Liverpool appears to be stranded in the wrong country like South Ossetia. Where's our Mother Russia when we need her? :cry:
 

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Fiat Lux
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I think I'll write a paper demonstrating how universal sufferage just hasn't worked for Liverpool - there's a stong correlation between universal sufferage and the city's decline. It was clearly much better off when it was run by the big bosses and their lovely laydees.

I'm sure I can find a right wing think tank to support me.
 

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I caught a falling star
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Discussion Starter #16
Villiers is (badly) lampooning Sebo.
Not really, I was thinking of you and your unintelligent bigotry against the BBC, etc. Easy targets. Congratulations.

The more you repeat this deluded notion that these people "hate Liverpool" (and honestly, these are personal issues you really need to address) doesn't make it fact, any more than your apologies for this report makes the Right's actual contempt for Liverpool any less real.
 

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I caught a falling star
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Discussion Starter #17
I'm not aware of anyone advocating the need to 'cut-loose and embrace the dark-side because, somehow, it'll piss off Manchester, the Guardian and the BBC off', and that Liverpool will escape the enslaught to become the new capital of Prussia or something. Maybe that's your own reading of some of the debates on here?
More or less.
 

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Not really, I was thinking of you and your unintelligent bigotry against the BBC, etc. Easy targets. Congratulations.

The more you repeat this deluded notion that these people "hate Liverpool" (and honestly, these are personal issues you really need to address) doesn't make it fact, any more than your apologies for this report makes the Right's actual contempt for Liverpool any less real.
Wrong again, Villiers. I'm not right wing. However, you'd have to be a baboon not to pick on on the pro-Manchester/anti-Liverpool bias in the BBC (almost all do to with its "regional" Manchester base) and the Guardian also.

The Guardian has published over the years several essentially race-hate attacks on Liverpool. Here's two, still on their website of a sort that, if directed at an ethnic minority would land its authors in gaol:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2001/jun/26/penal.comment
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jan/15/scouseproud

These sorts of view are not unknown in the rest of NuLab and London liberal circles. Yes, they hate Liverpool. Deal with it.

If you're too thick to follow the debate Villiers, do something elese.
 
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