York has been criticised for high house prices and slow planning procedures that delay investment in a new report on city growth.

A study by the Centre For Cities research group said cities needed to improve transport links, speed up planning and boost housing to attract and retain innovative businesses and workers.

It criticised public sector policies for being too “narrowly focused” on science and technology, often creating business and support services which overlapped.

A huge number of support services was confusing for business, said the report, revealing that in Birmingham alone firms had to chose between 55 different initiatives across 29 organisations and partnerships. The group criticised high house prices in cities such as Cambridge, Bristol and York and slow planning procedures which it said had delayed investment.

Hannah Brown, research manager at the Centre for Cities, said: “Even at a time of economic uncertainty, innovation is a key ingredient for business growth, but supporting innovation in Britain’s cities isn’t about gimmicky policy initiatives or niche business schemes.

“Instead, cities need to get the basics right – delivering good transport, better housing and faster planning decisions – to help businesses to innovate and compete. A better business environment in our cities will help the next James Dyson or Anita Roddick emerge.”

A Government spokesman said: “We have already developed multi area agreements with local councils and agencies, designed to devolve more power so that bodies can develop their own local approaches to boost economic growth, tackling issues including housing, transport and skills. These agreements enable local bodies to combine and deliver more than the sum of their parts on key issues that don’t respect local boundaries. About 71 per cent of planning decisions on major applications are now made within 13 weeks.”