No part of the UK has escaped the impact of the flatlining UK economy since 2010, even if York has done relatively well recently, according to analysis from the Centre for Cities in Cities Outlook 2024.

In a year of a general election where growth will be central to the debate, the report sets out the scale of the challenge in boosting prosperity across the country.

Whilst local reaction follows partisan lines, the Centre for Cities is more nuanced politically though bold in its pronouncements.

Its chief executive Andrew Carter calls on the next government to go beyond the rhetoric and put growth at its heart, also recognising how vital cities are to the country.


He said: “The UK has had a torrid time since the Great Recession. Everywhere, up and down the country, including places that were doing relatively well before, has been levelled down because of the lack of growth.

“To get growth in every place, the next Government needs to act at a radically different pace and scale, and mark the beginning of a multi-decade policy programme.

“There is no plausible way of achieving higher growth without increasing the innovation and dynamism of urban Britain.

“This means reforming the planning system to enable cities to grow, devolving more powers and financial freedoms to encourage our big cities to make decisions that support growth, and following the levelling up rhetoric with bold actions.”

York Press: York Central MP Rachael Maskell

Leader of City of York Council, Cllr Claire Douglas, said: “These findings highlight the slump in national economic performance over the past 13 years, including poor levels of productivity.  The global financial crash was always going to take time to bounce back from but the Conservative Government has contributed to the country’s economic problems, rather than fixing them.

“York has weathered the storm better than most but still has significant pockets of the city that have been hit hard. Centre for Cities previously reported York as one of the most unequal cities in the country and with very high housing costs, those on lower incomes really struggle to live here.  The city has spent years failing to meet housing demand which has contributed to York’s lack of affordability.

“That and delivering better paid job opportunities are both within our influence locally and where our focus now is. Nationally, the country needs a period of economic stability to reverse this unwanted trend and that will only come with a change to a Labour Government."

Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said: “York is a city in which some thrive and others survive. When property plays such a major role in whether someone has sufficient disposable income, then those trapped in the private rented sector are often those with the least spare capacity. Meanwhile those on low incomes also experience the financial strain. 

"The turbulence over the last 18 months in the economy, with the budget shock under Prime Minister Liz Truss, coupled with the failure to invest in green energy, exposing our country to the Ukraine/Russia rise in oil and gas prices, has brought new stresses, not least with the increase in mortgage repayments, inflation and high energy bills.

York Press: Julian Sturdy

“York’s resilience, in part, has been sustained through a high level of public sector, unionised jobs, its economic mix including businesses which have done well, and its relatively quick recovery from the pandemic. In the light of the dominance of the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors, this is a remarkable achievement by local businesses. 

"It is now vital that York addresses the drivers of inequality within our city, delivering a new generation of sustainable home and income inequality, so that we can see improved financial resilience across the city." 

Conservative MP for York Outer Julian Sturdy said: "It is good to see York buck the national trend showing the resilience of our local economy but we cannot ignore the wider implications.

“In the last five years we have had an once-in-a-century pandemic as well as an energy supply crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine, which brought an end to a decade of historically low inflation. This led to rising prices and wage growth has only now caught up after inflation has been tamed. 

“The levers the Government would usually have at its disposal to put more money into the economy have been constrained by the high spending but necessary intervention during the pandemic to support businesses and jobs as well as to cap energy prices for family. 

“With the country now turning an economic corner, I am optimistic the chancellor will have more fiscal headroom in the upcoming budget to put more money into the family budget and reverse the (national)  trend outlined in the Centre for Cities report."