Leeds risks ‘being left behind in Industrial Strategy debate’

PopUp Business School returning to Leeds
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ A G Baxter

A communications expert has cautioned that Leeds runs the risk of being left behind in the Industrial Strategy debate.

Manchester and Birmingham dominated media mentions of the UK’s top 20 cities outside of London when it came to the Industrial Strategy, according to Grayling.

By contrast, Leeds has just 6% of the share of voice in the debate, whether national or local.

A key pillar of the UK Government’s industrial strategy is rebalancing the UK economy geographically. It has announced a raft of potential opportunities for city regions to exploit.

These include plans to develop a portfolio of High Potential Opportunities around strategic supply chain gaps; new housing deals in a variety of locations; and a new £115 million fund to support science and innovation and to develop stronger local networks.

The Grayling analysis shows the City of Leeds featuring 449 times in the context of the industrial strategy in the past year.

However, the UK’s top 20 cities feature over 7,300 in that time frame, leaving Leeds with just six per cent of the share of voice in this key debate.

“The government’s industrial strategy places great importance on rebalancing our lopsided economy. It is therefore surprising how infrequently the nation’s key industrial cities like Leeds feature in debate around the country,” said Katie Eborall, Head of Leeds at Grayling.

“It is crucial that cities and regions position themselves as part of this strategy, not only to attract private investment but also to ensure they remain relevant just as regional devolution starts to take hold.

“Place is one of the industrial strategy’s five key pillars, so it stands to reason that cities aiming to take advantage of this should build a reputation within that debate.”