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UK core cities and 24 universities join forces to share post-pandemic recovery plans

Lily Canter
·2-min read
The University of Leeds is one of the 24 UK universities signed up to the declaration. Credit: Getty.
The University of Leeds is one of the 24 UK universities signed up to the declaration. Photo: Getty.

Eleven core UK cities have joined together with 24 universities outside London to propose bold plans for economic recovery post-Covid.

In a joint declaration the cities and universities have set out three recommendations on how to boost and broaden research and development spend, create high skilled jobs and help to level up the UK’s nations and regions.

The 11 cities, which include Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast, already deliver 26% of the UK economy and play host to 40% of all UK university students.

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In the proposal addressed to government ministers, the city leaders and university vice-chancellors have outlined plans for establishing new City Innovation Partnerships (CIPs) to develop targeted local research and development investment programmes.

They are also calling for greater local flexibility in the delivery of skills, employment and job creation programmes, the introduction of a cities trade package, and a new UK urban trade and investment strategy to reposition the UK internationally.

Councillor Judith Blake, chair of Core Cities UK and leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is a very challenging time for both universities and our cities, but we must start to plan for a better future. Our core cities and their universities each have distinct industrial and research strengths. They also have enormous potential to generate innovation-led economic growth to benefit the towns and communities in their wider regions. But we need the government to work with us to realise that potential."

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She invited ministers to meet with Core Cities UK to "discuss a way forward".

She added: “As the UK continues to explore new global markets and opportunities post-Brexit, we also want to take advantage of our cities’ and institutions’ growing reputation as major hubs for innovation and research excellence.