Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Labour Group on Cambridge City Council, welcomed the good news in the report for Cambridge on its world-class strengths in education and innovation, but warned that the City’s growth and prosperity needs to be far better managed to ensure that the benefits are shared by all.
Speaking on the publication of the annual Cities Outlook 2014 report from the Centre for Cities thinktank on Monday 27 January, Cllr Herbert said: “There is no doubt that Cambridge leads the way for the UK in many areas -; and its outstanding reputation in innovation is proven by its success in the number of patents granted. But the report also highlights the stark reality of average wages in Cambridge falling faster in 2013 than anywhere in Britain, down an average of 5.7% which means average local earnings fell by more than £1000 per year in a single year.”
“Meanwhile, the Cambridge house price rise bubble makes it a double whammy for local people in housing need with Cambridge having the fastest rising house price in the UK, beating even London. Our lack of affordable social housing is hurting hundreds of young Cambridge professionals and families on low and middle incomes whilst also resulting in skyhigh rents in the private rental sector.”
“The report highlights that the real challenge for Cambridge’s decision makers is how to make sure our City’s prosperity reaches all residents, rather than leaving Cambridge increasingly a two tier city of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The councils in the Greater Cambridge area must respond, working with local employers and business. We think this demands a new plan of action from the City Council and an end to the dangerous complacency which could leave too many residents unable to afford to continue living in our rapidly growing City.”