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Jim O’Neill named Commercial Secretary to the Treasury to oversee city devolution plan for England

Jim O’Neill, the former Goldman Sachs chief economist who coined the term “Brics” to describe leading emerging markets, has been appointed Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, with special responsibility for city devolution and delivery of public sector infrastructure projects.

Jim, who will be made a peer, chaired the Cities Growth Commission until October 2014. Many of the commission’s ideas underpinned George Osborne’s northern powerhouse strategy to boost economic development in the north of England. Jim argued that devolving power to Britain’s 15 biggest urban areas was also vital to curbing the budget deficit and national debt. It could boost the national economy by £79bn a year by 2030, adding 5 per cent to its size, the report said.

Click here to read the full story.

For more information, or to book Jim O’Neill as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

“Unleashing Metro Growth”: Jim O’Neill delivers the final report of the City Growth Commission

Jim O’Neill speakerIn October the UK’s City Growth Commission, chaired by the economist and creator of the BRICs acronym Jim O’Neill, released “Unleashing Metro Growth”, an influential report explaining how the UK can boost its economy by facilitating the growth of London and its other great cities.

Jim believes that cites are “the most powerful engines of growth almost everywhere.” Writing in the report, he argues that “ambitious metro areas should be bold and demand enough decision-making power to put their best ideas into effect.”

The Commission, which was run by the RSA think tank in London, argues that more powers should be devolved away from central government to metropolitan areas, and identifies London’s Oyster smart card, enabling seamless travel, as a model for other cities to copy. Creating world class digital infrastructure is another key factor in driving city growth.

“Absolutely first class…there is real opportunity here”
British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes
the Cities Growth Commission Report

Bruce Katz, Vice President of the Brookings Institute in Washington DC, served on the Commission. Here he cites a number of lessons the US can learn from the experience of the UK.

Click here to read the report in full.

For more information, or to book Jim O’Neill as a keynote speaker for your conference or event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call 0044 (0) 20 7792 8004.

Listen to economist Jim O’Neill on devolution and the future of England’s cities

Listen to economist Jim O’Neill on devolution and the future of England’s cities

Jim O'NeillIn a new programme for BBC Radio 4, “The Devolutionaries: Powering Up England’s Cities”, BBC Breakfast business presenter Steph McGovern explores proposals to devolve more powers to England’s cities.

There are growing calls for devolving more powers to England’s cities in the wake of the Scottish referendum. Proponents argue that devolving more power to cities, enabling them to take decisions about taxes and spending, could be the key to making them grow. Compared with other countries, the UK is highly centralised and the devolutionaries believe it is holding back cities outside London from growing.

Steph looks at these arguments, hearing from economist Jim O’Neill, who has chaired a year-long investigation into the subject, the City Growth Commission, which publishes its final report later this month. She finds out why Jim believes it is important for cities outside London to be able to grow into metro regions, in the way that American cities like Boston have been able to recover from deindustrialisation. Steph also meets civic leaders in Manchester and hears about their innovative “earnback” scheme for investing in new infrastructure, finds out how proposals for fiscal devolution might work and how such plans will require new forms of accountability, such as proposals for city mayors.

The show kicks off tonight (Monday 13 October) from 20.00-20.30. Click here for more information.

For more information on how to book Jim O’Neill as a speaker for your conference or client event, please contact Alex Hickman at or call +44 (0) 20 7792 8004.

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