CANNES, FRANCE—At today’s kickoff of MIPIM, Manchester economist Jim O’Neill said the United Kingdom‘s major cities need autonomous global relationships apart from London, if they are to flourish in the 21st century.

O’Neill heads the City Growth Commission which is pushing for more financial freedom other UK cities. UK news sources quoted him from a presentation he gave today at MIPIM, as saying that cities like Manchester, which is currently redeveloping its downtown around a new high speed rail station, need access to emerging markets like China. O’Neill, a former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and now a professor at Manchester University, specializes in urban economics.

The panel is said building the case for the “growth of urban Britain outside of London, but not at London’s expense” according to a report on the website Place North West. It will seek certain measures from the UK government.

MIPIM (Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier), in its 25th year, runs through the week at Cannes.

Click Place North West to read the full story.