Manchester: The Manchester model

WHEN considering cities, never underestimate the importance of football and pop music. As far as I am aware, there is no academic evidence to support it, but if you speak to business types in British cities, they will swear blind that having a premier-league football team attracts foreign direct investment. Meanwhile, the Beatles explain why so many more Americans seem to know of the existence of Liverpool than Birmingham.Anyway, as I explain in a piece in the print edition this week, Manchester has both—and it also has a particularly effective form of local government. That helps to explain why, over the past twenty years or so, it has outperformed most other British cities, in particular its rival Birmingham (my home city, and a source of unending frustration). You can see this particularly visibly in the workless households data that was published by the Office for National Statistics earlier this month. In 2004, Manchester was among the top five cities in Britain for worklessness, together with perennially blighted places as Liverpool and Glasgow. By 2012, it had dropped out, while Birmingham entered the list for the first time in its history.There are however two criticisms, partly linked, of the Manchester model which I didn’t manage to squeeze into the piece. The first is simply that all this regeneration hasn’t benefited the whole population of the city …

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