GVA core cities MIPIM debate

MIPIM: GVA joins PlaceEXPO partners

Paul Unger in Cannes

Property consultancy GVA will use the UK's International Festival for Business in the summer to stimulate the debate around knowledge economy and the growth of UK cities.

GVA and Place North West will host an event during the cities week, commencing 16 June, at IFB, the UK's biggest business event for 50 years, hosted in Liverpool during June and July this year.

PlaceEXPO will be the property pavilion within IFB, based at No 4 St Paul's Square in Liverpool's commercial business district.

David Sayer, director, GVA, said: "As the largest property consultancy in Liverpool it was a natural step for GVA to want to be a part of the PlaceEXPO, which will provide a dedicated venue during the International Festival for Business for the property community to showcase its most exciting regeneration projects to an international audience. We moved in to our new offices at No 4 St Paul's Square last month and we are looking forward to being in the heart of the action this summer throughout what promises to be an significant event for UK commerce and in particular the Liverpool City Regional economy."

Place North West and event partner Active Profile are attending the global property convention MIPIM in Cannes this week, where the Liverpool stand is promoting IFB to the world's property market.

On Wednesday at MIPIM, GVA hosted a panel debate about the role of knowledge economies within the UK's core cities, following publication of Driving Future Growth: Core cities and the knowledge economy, an in-depth study of eight UK cities' labour markets, communication infrastructure and educational assets.

Speaking on the panel, Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, said there was a regional policy vacuum which made it difficult to tailor skills training to different geographic regions. The core cities – Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Nottingham – are lobbying political parties on both sides ahead of the next general election. The cities' leaders are trying to fill that vacuum but need to have the tools to do so, such as greater fiscal flexibility, as Bernstein put it, in a similar way to US cities which can use tax incentives to attract developers.

Bernstein said city regions needed new investment models to stimulate the start-up tech community, which will become increasingly important but cannot afford city centre office rents when starting out in business. He said these "pluralist, value-driven" occupier markets could not make development viable on their own and councils should look to intervene to subsidise creation of new workspace for them.

Also on the panel were Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council; George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol; Fiona Fletcher-Smith, executive director for development at Greater London Authority; Carl Potter, senior director of GVA and Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council.

When Bernstein and Bore were asked to name the second city of the UK, Bernstein said it was London. Bore said the question was irrelevant and all UK cities benefited from London's growth and should unite to persuade government they collectively need more power to be able to close the economic gap between London and the regions.

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