Searching for an economic strategy to lift the UK’s growth performance (which is half of the average of the 25 richest countries), Torsten Bell, CEO of the Resolution Foundation picks out the UK’s great area of success: the second largest exporter of services in the world. Writing in The Observer (10th July, 2022), he points out that:

“high-value service industries thrive when similar firms co-locate in large places with highly-educated populations: cities. And it is a public policy failure that far too few of our cities outside London capitalise on that.”

This is not “a strategy for the few: 69% of the UK population live in cities”, he adds.

If there is one part of the national train-set that needs to be first cherished and then enhanced to support the kind of economic strategy that Torsten Bell calls for it is Cross Country, which links together the top 7 cities outside London. Improving these city-city connections helps all of the English regions and Scotland and Wales, but not South East England and London. This is a policy call that can be used to target Government’s ‘levelling up agenda’ accurately.

In this latest Greengauge 21 report, we examine why Cross Country services really matter in national policy terms, and the opportunities that improvements could make to regional rebalancing. You can read the full report here: Greengauge 21, Cross Country – the heart of the nation

Published in RAIL – and thanks to Greengauge 21 colleagues Leo Eyles, Richard Davies and John Jarvis for their contributions. 

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