Cities are still struggling to recover from the impact of the virus crisis even though the easing of lockdown restrictions has provided a boost to many high streets, new research suggests.

Centre for Cities said spending in Britain’s large towns and smaller cities is recovering faster than in its largest urban centres.

Northern England and the Midlands are recovering faster than elsewhere, said the think tank.

High street spending has recovered the most in Huddersfield, Basildon and Blackburn, while London, Aldershot, Oxford and Birmingham have the weakest recoveries in England, a study indicated.

The Manchester skyline viewed from Oldham (Martin Rickett/PA)
The Manchester skyline viewed from Oldham (Martin Rickett/PA)

Centre for Cities’ chief executive Andrew Carter said: “We can already see that the vaccination programme and lifting of lockdown is helping businesses get back on their feet.

“Many cities and towns, particularly those in northern England and the Midlands, have seen a boom in consumer spending in the past month.

“It’s not all good news, the centres of our biggest cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester remain quiet as people there continue to work from home.

“If this doesn’t change in the next few months I’d expect to see more people working in retail and hospitality in our biggest city centres lose their jobs.

“The Government must work with the newly-elected metro mayors to stop this happening.”