I wasn't able to attend the debate at the city's Anglican cathedral on Thursday. However, it seems, from talking to those who were there, that more heat than light was generated on Tim Leunig's comments about Liverpool following that Policy Exchange report.
However, Leunig made two points in defending his position which warrant both urgent attention & action (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/regional-news/2008/10/17/dr-tim-leunig-stands-by-attack-on-liverpool-64375-22054441/ ):
"According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, a rival think-tank to Policy Exchange, Liverpool has the lowest rate of employment for any major town or city in the country. And that is a tragedy for those people.
"It also has the highest rate of in-work benefits. So Liverpool is not generating the number of jobs or the quality of jobs for the people."
Leunig's perverse & unworkable conclusions notwithstanding, those two points are irrefutable & serve as a damning indictment of New Labour's ideological reluctance to even address them. Now that the recession is upon us the local economy will face job losses on a scale not seen since the late 70s/early 80s.