Most popular ⏷ How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Gender bias calculator The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Innovation on buses. Heathrow

Housing ⏷ Counting households. 1. Counting households. 2. The housing market works (where we let it) Hexmaps Adonis is wrong on housing Car free Birmingham

Regional Growth ⏷ How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Industrial Strategy. Leeds Growth Strategy 1. Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Inclusive growth. The BBC in Manchester What works (growth) North-South divide: we never tried Imitating Manchester Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Researching research Replacing UK steel The Economist & The North The State of the North, 2015 Move the Lords! Calderdale Digital Strategy Maths of inequality Income by MSOA Heathrow and localism The NorthernPowerhouse Centralism and Santa Claus Yorkshire backwards London makes us poor

Transport ⏷ The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map What works (growth) The Value of Time Innovation on buses. Heathrow 1975 WYMetro Plan

Politics & Economics ⏷ Fifa and the right In defence of the € GDP mystery Liberal protectionists 5 types of EU voter Asylum responsibilities STEM vs STEAM The Economist & Scotland BBC Bias? Northern rail consultation What holds us back? Saving the Union Summing it up

Positive ⏷ Bike Lights Playful Everywhere Greggs vs. Pret Guardian comment generator Consult less, do more! More things for Leeds! Cartoons PubQuest: Birmingham

Tech ⏷ Tap to pay. Open Data in Birmingham Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map Building a TechNation How the UK holds back TechNorth GDS is Windows 8 OpenData at the BBC SimFlood SimSponge See me speak Digital Health Leeds Empties Leeds Site Allocations Building a Chrome extension I hate webkit Visualising mental health Microsoft's 5 easy wins Epson px700w reset Stay inside the Bubble

Old/incomplete ⏷ Orange price rises The future of University Cherish our Capital Dealing with NIMBYs Sponsoring the tube Gender bias calculator MetNetMaker Malaria PhD Symbian Loops Zwack Kegg Project The EU Eduroam & Windows 8 Where is science vital? The Vomcano 10 things London can shove Holbeck Waterwheel

 

Why grow?

A copy of this blog also appears on the Leeds Growth Strategy webiste.

For every £3 collected in all taxes in Leeds, government of all levels spends £4 . We are a richer and more productive city than many of our close neighbours but we are not yet successful enough to pay our own bills.

If we want to pay our own way and be in a strong position to take more decisions ourselves about what we do then we need to raise taxes, cut spending, and grow our economy.

Leeds' financial plan explains how it is doing all three things. It is increasing council tax by 3.99% this year, including a 2% increase ring-fenced for adult social care. It is cutting £31m of spending on top of significant cuts in previous years. And it is helping to secure investment of £932m over the next three years to grow the economy of Leeds.

But our city is not standing still. People are living longer and families today are smaller than they used to be. In the future, unless we grow as a city, there will be fewer working-age people to pay for the pensions and healthcare that a larger number of older people will be entitled to.

By 2030 there will be 50% more people aged over 75 living in Leeds. There will be about 25% more people aged under 16 too. That means that tax rises will need to continue, that spending cuts will need to deepen, or that we will have to grow the economy of our city even more.

Why I choose growth

To pay for the services that we enjoy today and that we want for the future I think that the easiest way forward is to grow. Well-planned and sustainable growth, but growth all the same.

Schemes like the Kirkstall Forge redevelopment, Trinity shopping centre, and Victoria Gate provide the city with new shops, offices, and homes. They are already delivering more taxes via business rates to Leeds City Council to fund services.

There are many more plans for growth in Leeds such as the East Leeds extension, the South Bank redevelopment, a new village at Thorp Arch , and much more. Details are in places like the Leeds strategic plan and many are already under consultation.

I think that the more we grow the less we’ll need to raise taxes and the less we’ll need to cut spending.

Growing pains

But growth never comes without growing pains and there are many people in Leeds who think that we need to grow less, or that we need to grow in a different way. Many people think that the Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park has caused unacceptable congestion in West Leeds. Others think it should never have been built given the flood risk.

There are local campaigns against housing development in most parts of outer Leeds. People are worried about losing parks, countryside, and fields. They are worried about crowded schools, GP surgeries, and roads.

There are further debates about what type of growth we want: should we focus more on manufacturing? Or creative industries? Or financial services? Or favour whoever can pay the highest rent?

Should we focus on growth in the city-centre or in the suburbs? Should we give individual citizens and builders more or less power to decide what we allow to be built?

These are all important questions and I’ll share my thoughts and the data I used to form them in future blogs.

blog comments powered by Disqus