Coventry - in its past and present context

Between the wars, Coventry was the fastest-growing urban centre in Britain. It was a city that rose from the rubble and was central to the new Labour government's vision of a brave new Britain. It had the first pedestrianised shopping centre in Europe, and a higher rate of car and home ownership than any other industrial city.

But with the clouds of the recession, fuelled by an oil crisis beginning to gather in the early 1970s, Coventry didn't have the variety of industry to stay ahead.

Coventry in the present

But the city built itself back up by diversifying its economic base over recent decades, shifting away from being dominated by manufacturing which provided 55% of jobs in the 1970s (compared to 11% now). Today the majority of jobs in Coventry are in the education (13.6%) and healthcare (13%) sectors.

The Coventry of today, however, is up against the economic dominance of London and the South East. The West Midlands economy as a whole faces a number of structural issues, including a skills deficit and low productivity compared to the UK average.

The Levelling Up agenda of the Government as a comprehensive strategy is welcome. However, it is critical the concept is translated into meaningful change across Coventry. 

Our analysis details the current economic and political challenges Coventry faces, and what can be done in building on the city's legacy looking ahead to the future. 

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