Ignore our industrial towns and cities '˜at your peril'

POLICY MAKERS have been warned to ignore smaller industrial cities, towns and communities 'at their peril', after a new report showed 'growing inequality' in areas across the UK.

Wakefield city centre

The report, by the Barnsley-based Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Centre for Towns, the Industrial Communities Alliance and the Key Cities group said smaller traditionally-industrial communities were being “left behind” and failing to achieve anywhere near their full potential.

It says these areas, such as Doncaster, Wakefield and Sunderland, have much to offer - including their distinctive identities, cleaner living environments, a lower cost business offer, land ripe for development, and a plentiful workforce, but need support and investment in technology to ensure businesses can grow, investment in transport and skills, and funding that is not reliant on devolution.

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The report was championed at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference last night,

Chief executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis, said the report sets out clear examples of “what we can all achieve when we work more closely together and think differently”.

“We have been working with residents in the coalfields for years, and we know that when people are given the opportunity they can make a lasting difference for themselves and for future generations,” he said.

“It is imperative that we embrace new and innovative approaches to meet with the needs of our residents and that starts with the communities; the towns that have the potential to deliver a more positive future.”