Centre for Cities: Liverpool at risk of public cuts

Liverpool is among a highly vulnerable group of UK towns and cities that are over-exposed to public sector employment as spending cuts loom, according to the Centre for Cities think tank.

The Cities Outlook 2010 paper published today puts Liverpool in the same bracket as a dozen other at risk places including Leicester, Barnsley, Swansea and Plymouth.

The report states: "Cities with a high proportion of low to medium-skilled positions in local authorities, civil service outposts and quangos will be hit hardest."

Large government departments have underpinned Liverpool's employment base, but worried economists fearful of a weak enterprise culture, for decades. Public sector tenants traditionally dominate office take-up and last year's letting of 220,000 sq ft to the Home Office at The Capital accounted for half of all take-up. Liverpool's current civil service roll call includes the Ministry of Defence, UK Border Agency, Identity & Passport Service, Health & Safety Executive, Home Office and HM Revenue & Customs.

Ironically, this public sector dominance has enabled consumer spending to ride out the recession better than certain towns and cities.

Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds are not named on the chart as they have higher proportions of private sector employment. Certain centres have high exposure to public sector employment but were deemed insulated from change because they housed safer departments. These include Warrington, Brighton, Crawley, and Milton Keynes.

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