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Leeds Lays Claim To a Position As One of Britain’s Leading Service Centres. What is the basis for this claim? How justified is it? What are the problems involved in following a service orientated strategy?

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Introduction

LEEDS LAYS CLAIM TO A POSITION AS ONE OF BRITAIN'S LEADING SERVICE CENTRES. WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR THIS CLAIM? HOW JUSTIFIED IS IT? WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS INVOLVED IN FOLLOWING A SERVICE ORIENTED STRATEGY? "Why Leeds rather than say Wakefield should have grown to become the chief industrial centre of the West Riding cannot be said with certainty" (Connell & Ward in Fraser D., 1980:143) The above quote denotes Leeds' regional importance as an industrial centre and it is for many of these reasons that Leeds has come to be recognised as one of Britain's leading service centres, or at least the claim to the position. To explain Leeds' industrial importance, as drawn upon in the opening quote, I intend to provide a brief description to the background of Leeds and its growth from a market town to the important city, both regionally and nationally that it is today. Also its economic transition from industrial based to service dominant economy. This essay will also then take a look at Leeds' claim to be one of Britain's leading service centres, giving evidence to justify this claim, such as recent employment figures. To follow I will try to investigate the problems with service based economies, and trying to follow a service oriented strategy Leeds' original growth was initialised by the trading and marketing of textiles, due to its location near to raw materials, power and transport, namely the River Aire. ...read more.

Middle

Evidence of this lays firstly in employment figures in Leeds. The last few decades have seen a decline in industrial and manufacturing employment and a rise in service sector employment. In fact only 16% of the population of Leeds are employed in the service sector, that's 276 700 people (Source:Leeds Economic Handbook 2000). Other employment changes have included an increase in part time and female employment, and a decline in opportunities for men, employment patterns most associated with the service sector. Such facts and figures justify the claim but there are other basis for this claim. The second is the growth in business and financial services. In fact Leeds is considered the most important financial centre outside London (Leeds Economic Handbook 2000). Although "the region has diversified its base to include growth in small to medium sized enterprises, call centres, electronics, media and financial and professional sectors", "the majority of industries experiencing growth are in the service sector" (Leeds In Depth, 2000:12). Other evidence includes the growth in new and refurbished leisure facilities, retail, hotels and catering in the city centre and along the waterfront, and how this has stimulated further investment, like the substantial private and public investment seen in the 1990s. In addition to this "according to a recent report by the property consultant Healey and Baker, Leeds is ranked the second most highly rated city to shop in" (Leeds In Depth 2000:15). ...read more.

Conclusion

Meaning profits are often taken out of the Leeds economy and spent elsewhere. Also some companies may bring in specialist staff from other areas providing no high wage employment to the local area. For example PricewaterhouseCoopers has brought many of its partners up from London to Leeds instead of providing Leeds accountants with the opportunity to further their careers. The service sector is not just problematic. Indeed in Leeds it has led to an improvement in the built environment "changes in the fabric of the city-retail sites, new office buildings, refurbishment of old and redundant property, conversion flats and infrastructure development" (Leeds In Depth, 2000:14). The sector's ability to attract investment is definitely one of its saving graces. In conclusion I would agree that Leeds is following a service oriented strategy, and that in certain aspects of the industry, for example the financial sector, the city truly is one of Britain's leaders. To say Britain is one of Britain's leading service centres is not strictly wrong. There are four or five centres that have a stronger claim than Leeds but the margins are slim, and Leeds is expected to grow quite rapidly over the next few years. I would predict that in the future Leeds will be a more important national centre and a British leader. Following a service sector strategy provides rapid growth and investment but is problematic with its patterns of employment and the redistribution of profits. ...read more.

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