£7bn fund to tackle city job losses

Half a million jobs in town and city centres are at risk because of the impact of the pandemic, as people continue to work from home, according to exclusive analysis commissioned by the LGA.

The report found the hospitality, manufacturing, finance, and retail sectors were more at risk from changes to the economy, and that young people aged 16-24 were 2.5 times more likely than others to be working in a sector that was shut down by COVID-19. 

To address these issues, the report recommends creating a new 10-year ‘Sustainable Urban Futures Fund’ worth up to £7 billion to support local leaders to invest in infrastructure improvements, new housing projects, local town centres and other measures to support economic growth. 

This could incorporate existing government funds, such as the Towns Fund.

Mayor Marvin Rees, Chair of the LGA’s City Regions Board, said: “Councils are at the forefront of efforts to lead the recovery from the pandemic, which includes delivering economic growth that is sustainable and benefits all. 

“We want to work closely with the Government to help deliver on its levelling up commitment and deliver local investment across all parts of the country. The need for the Government to work with urban leaders cannot be ignored, as this report sets out the stark consequences urban economies face during this recovery phase.

“Although recent funding announcements to invest in local areas by the Government have been important, these funds are sometimes fragmented and complex. A Sustainable Urban Futures Fund could provide long-term, large-scale funding for integrated urban recovery programmes that respond to the challenges of the pandemic and the opportunities of the future.”

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