AT FIRST glance, the Centre for Cities report makes for some grim reading.

It highlights just some of the problems faced, not just by Newport, but by other cities across the country.

But it must be remembered that the picture it paints is taken from data that is more than a year old.

And there is not much in the report that people in this area would not be aware of already.

Everyone knows Newport has struggled to cope with the recession, in many ways finding it harder than some other cities or towns.

The fact that the first Friars Walk plan was the most high profile local victim of the recession is testament to that.

Everybody knows Newport has a long way to go, as the economy itself still has a long way to go before we can say we are over the worst of it.

Clearly this report doesn’t take any note of any of the positive signs coming out of Newport at the moment.

Construction of Friars Walk will be under way within weeks.

Re:Newport’s ideas have been generally welcomed across the board, though we still await the Welsh Government’s response to that report.

There are many people working very hard in this city to focus on the positive and to try to build a lively, local economy from the ground up.

That is what we need to focus on.