Tory leader David Cameron’s favourite think tank advocates scrapping Liverpool’s renewal. Ben Schofield reports - you can download the full report here
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.”