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Economic Justice

Think tanks calls for ‘Suburban Taskforce’ as new report shows suburbs in ‘decline’

A new report by the Smith Institute, looks at how suburbs are falling behind urban centres. The report, ‘Towards a suburban renaissance: an agenda for our city suburbs’ examines trends in suburban London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands Urban Area. It finds that:

Poverty has become more concentrated in many suburban areas. In London, official data shows that there are now more people in poverty in outer London than inner London (over the last decade, poverty has risen from 20% to 24% of the suburban population).

  • The proportion of the most deprived areas within the three city regions increased most rapidly in suburban areas – in the West Midlands up from 42% to 57%. There were also marked increases in suburbs in the levels of people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Pension Credit.
  • The number of jobs in suburbs has stagnated over the last decade. Inner London, for example, created 500,000 jobs between 2003 and 2013. In outer London it was just 8,000.
  • Jobs performed by suburban residents increased at a slower rate than in urban areas. In Manchester, suburban resident job numbers increased by 6%, compared with a 47% rise in urban areas.
  • House prices over the last 20 years have increased more rapidly in urban areas. In the West Midlands and Greater Manchester, the most affordable places to live have increasingly become suburban areas (e.g. in 1995, 70% of the cheapest 10% of areas in the West Midlands urban area were suburban; by 2014 that figure had risen to almost 90%).

Read the full report