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UK2070 Teesside Taskforce ‘Report of Findings’ and ‘Background Technical Report

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Further helping realise the future potential of the Tees Valley

The UK2070 Commission today publishes the Teesside Taskforce Paper of  ‘Report of Findings’ and ‘Background Technical Report’

The Teesside Taskforce was established by the UK2070 Commission to work with the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority to support the long-standing aspirations for a major increase in the number and quality of job opportunities in Tees Valley, alongside enhancing the wellbeing of people who live in Teesside. its Report on Findings, published today, sets out immediate opportunities for reinforcing current initiatives.

This sets out a framework for Tees Valley to Go Big in delivering Green Growth, across the Tees Valley strengthening the national role of Tees Valley and building on the local distinctiveness and growing interdependencies of Teesside’s main towns.

The report sets out how these ambitions could be accelerated by the immediate implementation of programmes to tackle Green Fuel Poverty, level up access to job opportunities, transform the living conditions of the most disadvantaged communities and create a Global Centre of Excellence around the university and new industries.

The report demonstrates that the opportunities in Teesside are considerable but so also are the challenges.

 

Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission, said:

“Delighted to publish UK2070 Teesside Taskforce ‘Report of Findings’ and ‘Background Technical Report’.

I was pleased to chair a formal Teesside Taskforce session earlier this year, with Teesside University hosting the UK2070 Commission. This is the culmination of extensive consultation across the whole of Teesside. Evidence was provided by Mayor Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside University, Industry partners and international submissions from South Africa.

I wanted to thank everyone, especially Mayor Houchen, the Combined Authority and Teesside University, for their support of this Teesside Taskforce publication.”

 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

“We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to transform Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, level up our communities, drive growth and create good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people generations to come.

I welcome UK2070 Commission Teesside Taskforce report and thank Lord Kerslake for his visits to the region and the work he and others have put into this report. It’s a welcome endorsement of the huge strides we are making and the big opportunities I’m highlighting, and points to some of the biggest opportunities for future jobs, investment, and growth in the region.

For example, I welcome its argument that Teesside is the best place for the UK’s first hydrogen village. This kind of ambitious thinking will deliver a brighter future for local people as we spearhead the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

 

Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Paul Croney said:

“As an anchor institution with a civic mission, Teesside University takes an uncompromising approach to levelling-up opportunity. This can only be achieved with cooperation and collaboration; the time is now to work together and deliver real change.

Universities are engines of innovation and impact. I am delighted to see this evidenced within the Commission’s findings and wholeheartedly support the recommendation to establish a Centre of Excellence in the Tees Valley.  From supporting the growth of the economy, to delivering the transition to net zero, Teesside University will continue to contribute the knowledge, skills and insight to develop solutions that shape the future, today.”

 

 

Teesside University welcomes UK2070 Commission taskforce to tackle regional inequality

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Those at the forefront of levelling-up opportunity for the Tees Valley have gathered at Teesside University for an important summit designed to help tackle regional inequality and provide additional opportunities for jobs and growth.

The UK2070 Commission’s Teesside Taskforce, held a formal evidence session at Teesside University this week, where it heard how areas including freeports, steel, hydrogen and the wider net zero agenda can provide a boost for the region.

It comes in the days after Teesside University was named as the top university in the country for social inclusion, highlighting the institution’s work to embrace social mobility and encourage greater participation in higher education from underrepresented groups.

The UK2070 Commission, chaired by Lord Kerslake, is an independent inquiry into national and regional inequalities in the UK. Its aim is to illustrate the potential for change and identify an agenda of action to deliver it.

Last year, as part of the Commission, a Teesside Taskforce was set up to examine how certain sectors could increase quality job opportunities in the region and ultimately enhance people’s prospects and wellbeing.

Teesside University has already contributed several pieces of evidence for the Teesside Taskforce and has been working in partnership with the Commission to develop actions around the levelling up agenda. Professor Stephen Cummings, Pro Vice-Chancellor, (Research and Innovation) at Teesside University contributed to the evidence session.

It also included feedback from the likes of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and CEO of the Materials Processing Institute Chris McDonald, who have been instrumental in the Teesside Taskforce. A final report will now be published and shared with Government as part of the UK2070 Commission.

Teesside University Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Paul Croney, said:  “I was delighted to welcome Lord Kerslake and the UK2070 Commission to Teesside University for this important session.

“As an anchor institution with a civic mission, Teesside University takes an uncompromising approach to levelling-up opportunity. This can only be achieved with cooperation and collaboration, and we have welcomed the work of the Teesside Taskforce in galvanising this critical activity.

“As the UK seeks to build back better, it has never been so important for the voice and experience of the regions to be reflected in national policy and decision-making. Teesside University will continue to contribute the knowledge, skills and insight to develop solutions that shape the future, today.”

The report from the Teesside Taskforce advised that the scale of change needed to transform the Tees Valley requires productivity and employment to increase by 10% and the rate of innovation to double.

The Taskforce recommends the development of a regional Clean Growth Strategy and vision that rejects the narrative around ‘left behind towns’ and builds on the ambitions of the Tees Valley and opportunities such as Freeports, investment in Net Zero and Treasury North.

Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission, said: “I was pleased to chair this formal Teesside Taskforce session and thank you Teesside University for hosting the UK2070 Commission. This is the culmination of extensive consultation across the whole of Teesside. Evidence was provided by Mayor Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside University, Industry partners and international submissions from South Africa.

“Further helping realise the future potential of the Tees Valley, whilst reducing inequality, I wanted to thank everyone, especially Mayor Houchen and the Combined Authority, for their support.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to transform Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, level up our communities, drive growth and create good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people generations to come. I was pleased to welcome Lord Kerslake to the region and give evidence as to how we can achieve our ambitions, ambitions that will deliver a brighter future for local people as we spearhead the UK’s transition to being a net zero nation by 2050.”

Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “I am pleased to have been invited to give formal oral evidence to the UK2070 Commission on their independent enquiry into national and regional inequalities.  As part of the UK2070 Teesside Task Force, I will be focussing on how we can realise the future potential of the Tees Valley, creating jobs and growth, whilst reducing inequality.”

David Whysall, Managing Director of UK Infrastructure, Turner & Townsend, said: “Turner & Townsend has a long-standing commitment to the Teesside region and its people, having been established in Darlington 75 years ago. We fully support the aims of the UK2070 Commission and the Teesside Taskforce and are pleased contribute to today’s evidence session. From freeports to hydrogen and net zero, there are some fantastic opportunities in the region, but they need to be harnessed in the right way to ensure that the social, environmental and economic benefits are felt by everyone on Teesside.”

Dr Rebecca Maserumule, Department of Science & Innovation,
Republic of South Africa Chief Director and Member of the Green Hydrogen Commercialization Ministerial Panel said:

“We congratulate the transformational work that Lord Kerslake, the UK2070 Commission and the Teesside Taskforce is embarking on.

“The Teesside Taskforce, in particular, has created the pathway for local-to-global collaboration that will catapult the built-back-better agenda to the level of international co-operation and trade. Turner & Townsend, part of the legacy of the Darlington economic landscape, has used its international reach to connect our Department, Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces with the UK and specifically Teesside Valley.

“An ethos that we invoke from the African Proverb ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.

“We look forward to collaborating with UK2070 Commission & it’s partnerships across the UK.”

Stephen McCartney, Managing Director of Turner & Townsend Africa, said:
“Turner & Townsend commends the UK 2070 Commission and Teesside Taskforce on making such a fundamental contribution to socio-economic development and social impact. This will herald a new economic renaissance for the UK market.

“With our pan-African purview, we look forward to supporting partners in Africa, like the Department of Science & Innovation in Republic of South Africa, to connect with industry players and Government stakeholders. Economic Reconstruction in South Africa, and an Africa Rising agenda supported by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), make the region an perfect partner with the UK to secure a new sustainable future for our economies. We look forward to supporting the UK2070 Commission and the Teesside Taskforce.”

 

Editors Notes:

Further details can be found here www.uk2070.org.uk

Background

The UK2070 Commission is an independent inquiry into city and regional inequalities in the UK. Chaired by Lord Kerslake, it has been set up to conduct a review of the policy and spatial issues related to the UK’s long-term city and regional development.

The UK2070 Commission has set up a Task Force in support of the long-standing aspirations for the wellbeing of the Teesside.

This will depend upon a major increase in number and quality of employment opportunities in the region.

As highlighted in the findings of UK2070 Commission, this is critical to delivering the levelling up of social conditions and lifetime prospects of the communities in the Teesside. This is also of national importance to the economic future of the UK in recalibrating the capacity, performance, and resilience to risk of all its major regions, including the Teesside.

Media contacts:

Gary Martin:

Communications Manager, Teesside University, 07557 082 810.

Michael S Henson:

Turner & Townsend, 07514 738044

 

Statement: Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission

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Levelling Up: Meeting the Challenge

The inequalities in economic performance and social conditions across the UK are now accepted by all parties as being unacceptable and shame on this country. The Prime Minister’s speech on 15th July, set out the steps the Government is taking to level up the UK, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The momentum for change must however be built up and accelerated from these initial steps since there is no quick fix to the UK’s spatial disparities.

Inequality operates at two levels – regional inequalities arising from the imbalanced economic development of the UK and the acute deprivation hotspots in areas of economic growth. These two challenges are being conflated with the risk of failing to address the core purpose of the levelling-up policy. Clarity is needed about the levelling up agenda in order to provide the confidence to local communities, leaders and long-term investors, namely to rebalance the economic geography of the UK.

Central to this is the need to recognise that, as the Prime Minster made clear, levelling up is not a zero-sum game. As demonstrated by the work of the UK2070 Commission – ‘Uplifting the north, Uplifts the south’. Not only will levelling up raise overall productivity in the UK but also it will reduce pressure on overheated housing markets in London and the wider south east of England.

Nor should levelling up be reduced to a town v cities debate. There is no doubt that many of our towns need a greater focus than they have had. However, the cities have a pivotal role to play. Without their success it is hard to see our towns succeeding.

Levelling up also needs to be seen as contributing to the global role of the UK, attracting inward investment and talent. It can be likened to changing from flying a plane with one big, highly strained engine (London and the South East) to one with multiple and distributed engines, increasing the overall capacity of the UK for growth and give it greater resilience to future global shocks.

The very depth of inequalities across the UK however means that national prescribed solutions are not appropriate. The levelling-up must be delivered through local leadership supported nationally, through local strategic bodies with access to and control of funds, as catalysts for external funds and in convening collaborative action with private partners. The push towards greater devolution in the Prime Minister’s speech is welcome.

Levelling-up policy must address the diversity of the needs of places suffering from: the legacy of deindustrialisation; stagnating earnings and incomes; or growing inequalities life chances requiring a focus on health, education and social mobility. Nothing less than large scale, comprehensive and long-term aligned action across the whole UK will deliver levelling-up.

The UK2070 Commission has set out a 10-Point plan to translate the rhetoric of levelling up into programmes of action with clear targets, for not only improving productivity but also levelling-up access to Job Opportunities: and Basic Services, and enhancing Environmental Conditions and social mobility. This includes changing the way things are done, and seen to be done. In effect this means ‘Changing the Rulebook, building on the experiences of creating successful places. The UK2070 Commission therefore undertaking work to demonstrate these principles, through Task Forces in Teesside and other areas.

A collective public and private commitment is required to transform policy into action that will shape the future of the UK over the next 25 years. The UK2070 Commission will be responding in full to the Prime Minister’s call for views on delivering this new deal for the future of the UK.

Thank you,

Lord Kerslake
Chair, UK2070 Commission

End of Year Message from UK2070 Commission Chair, Lord Kerslake

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First of all, I want to thank everybody who has helped the UK2070 Commission over the last year.

The health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have understandably dominated most of the year. We were fortunate to launch our Third and what we thought would be our Final Report at the end of February, before the pandemic took hold.

Despite the dominance of COVID-19, we have been able to make good progress on work to highlight the spatial inequalities of the UK and measures needed to address them. COVID-19 has made ‘levelling up’ harder but also more urgent.

The continued engagement of the commissioners, our partner universities and our other supporters has meant that we have been able to keep the debate going.

As a result, the UK2070 Commission has been able to sustain its pressure for change through a wide range of activities including:

  • In October undertaking a major assessment of the impact of COVID-19, by publishing Go Big – Go Local: The UK2070 Report on a New Deal for Levelling Up the United Kingdom, which confirmed that coronavirus had exacerbated regional inequality divides, and called for the implementation of our 10 Point Action Plan, including a step change in the devolution of powers and funding;
  • Engaging with government and parliamentary committees on the need to re-shape industrial strategy, infrastructure priorities and the planning system to deliver the levelling up agenda; and
  • Supporting others who are equally committed to building a better future, ranging from the Commission on the College of the Future re-shaping skills and the FE agenda, to endorsing the work of leading universities in their research agenda and civic engagement.

We are committed to sustaining our efforts in 2021. Amongst other things this will include:

  • Promoting a series of local Task Forces to make local the 10-Point Action Plan. We have already started on Teesside and are in advanced discussions with other strategic alliances;
  • Contributing to the United Nations Climate Change (COP26) Conference discussions to ensure that a ‘spatially just’ transition to zero-carbon is at the top of the agenda; and
  • Continuing to work with government, to ensure their commitment to a green recovery plan and locally-led action is not undermined by short-term, underfunded and micro-managed programmes.

So please watch this space, both here on our website and on our Twitter feed; and furthermore, please continue to contribute by contacting us at uk2070commission@turntown.com.

Thank you,

Lord Kerslake
Chair, UK2070 Commission

Northern Powerhouse Partnership and UK2070 Commission call for greater role for Mayors to lead Fourth Industrial Revolution

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  • Lord Kerslake calls for ‘levelling up’ role to be given to a Cabinet Minister
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution in the North of England could unlock thousands of skilled, future-ready jobs in green sectors and industries key to increasing productivity

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) and the UK2070 Commission are together calling for Metro Mayors to be given a greater say in leading the UK’s recovery from COVID-19, including of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the North of England.

Ahead of the 2020 Spending Review on Wednesday 25th November, NPP director Henri Murison and Chair of the UK2070 Commission The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake, will each call for clarity on the plan for levelling up, alongside targeted investment in industries that increase productivity.

They will tell the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee on Tuesday 24 November (10.30am start) that the UK’s recovery must focus on devolving more powers to locally-elected leaders and allowing them to upskill the workforce in key industries of the future, including advanced manufacturing, digital and green energies.

These sectors could hold the key to solving the UK’s productivity crisis that lies at the root of both the North-South divide, and wider regional inequalities across England.

While the Prime Minster has maintained that levelling up remains a top priority, Lord Kerslake will say that there is still no sign of a plan and that the government must appoint a dedicated Cabinet member and committee to ensure they deliver on election promises.

In October, the UK2070 Commission found that COVID-19 has exacerbated the UK’s economic dependency on London and the wider South East of England, calling for a £375bn 25-year New Deal strategy for a ‘just recovery’ to offset:

  • The £4bn a year gap in research and development investment, through creating at least four global centres of science and technology outside the UK’s so called ‘Golden Triangle’.
  • The £20bn per year cost of poor local connectivity, through major investment in transit systems in all major towns – and about 1,000 miles of new, upgraded and electrified main railway lines and services to more remote communities.

Last month, the UK2070 Commission set up the UK2070 Teesside Taskforce to support the creation of better-quality, skilled job opportunities in the North East of England, through investment in freeports, steel, hydrogen and the wider net-zero agenda.

Mr Murison will be speaking at The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), a world-leading research and innovation institution with more than 120 industrial partners.

The AMRC is part of The University of Sheffield and it is also one of the national High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres – a world-leading hub for manufacturing companies, academia and government to drive improvements across multiple industries; whether aerospace, energy, construction or rail.

The AMRC Training Centre in Rotherham provides apprenticeship training to students aged 16 and over through partnerships with both SMEs and global brands, including Boeing, Rolls-Royce and McLaren.

Mr Murison will highlight the role that companies like Sheffield Forgemasters can play in developing world-leading Small Modular Reactor technologies (SMR), with the potential to form a vital role in decarbonising the UK’s energy strategy and closing the power deficit.

In its recent Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the UK Government announced £215 million funding for the UK SMR Consortium led by Rolls-Royce. The consortium comprises nine companies and research organisations, including the Nuclear AMRC – the AMRC’s sister centre, also part of the University of Sheffield – and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

The consortium aims to have its first power station in operation in the early 2030s, with the development programme creating around 6,000 jobs by 2025. By value up to 80 per cent of the power station’s components will be made in factories in the North of England and the Midlands.

Sheffield Forgemasters received funding from the government in 2019 to build a large-scale Bost five-axis Vertical Turning Lathe and a Bost RAM Boring Machine, the first of their kind in the UK, which combined with the company’s depth of manufacturing skill for civil nuclear projects, delivers a significant technological advantage in this market.

SMRs are potentially faster to manufacture, safer and easier to decommission than large nuclear power plants and, by keeping the supply chain in the UK, will create more skilled green jobs in the economic recovery.

Lord Kerslake said: “While we’ve seen plenty of warm words about levelling up, we still need a plan for devolution of further fiscal powers.”

“Central and regional government both have a part to play in delivering this agenda. We need a dedicated cabinet member and committee, working alongside Metro Mayors across the Western Gateway, the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse, to build a comprehensive plan for economic rebalancing.”

“The UK is one of the most centralised, imbalanced, developed countries in the world and this has a serious detrimental impact on our ability to drive economic growth. Recovery post COVID-19 will only take place once we realise that.”

Henri Murison said: “Unlocking the North of England’s true economic potential through accelerating decarbonisation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution is not only crucial to closing the North-South divide, it is essential to recovery across the whole of the UK.”

“The North’s vast economic assets are still hugely underutilised but through sustained investment in sectors such as off-shore wind, hydrogen and SMRs; alongside targeted, locally-led skills programmes; we can build back better in some of the areas worst-hit economically by COVID-19.”

“We need to invest in both infrastructure and people to deliver this vision, upskilling and reskilling the workforce in highly-productive industries and sustainable energies that drive economic growth across the whole of the country.”

UK2070 Commission Launches Teesside Taskforce

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The UK2070 Commission – an independent inquiry into regional inequalities in the UK chaired by The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake – today officially launched the UK2070 Teesside Taskforce.

The Taskforce will work in support of the UK2070 Commission’s long-standing aspirations for a major increase in the number and quality of job opportunities in the region, alongside enhancing the wellbeing of people who live in Teesside.

The Teesside Taskforce will look in particular at the potential of freeports, steel, hydrogen and the wider net zero agenda to boost opportunity for people from across the Tees Valley.

In order to help the Taskforce, the UK2070 Commission is making a Call for Evidence from all interested parties on four key issues:

  • The key issues facing Teesside, whether they be economic, social, environmental and political.
  • The main opportunities for the Teesside area.
  • The resource and institutional requirements needed to tackle the problems and release the opportunities.
  • Discovering what successful projects and initiatives have been developed in Teesside that might be replicated.

Submissions should be made in response to the Terms Of Reference and our Call For Evidence by Friday 4th December 2020, with the findings of the Taskforce being submitted by spring 2021 to the Tees Valley Combined Authority; to the Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen; and to the UK Government.

Evidence may be submitted by emailing uk2070commission@turntown.com.

The UK2070 Teesside Taskforce will be further supported by a Taskforce Steering Group comprised of local business and academic representatives, and representatives from both the Department for International Trade and the Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Lord Kerslake said:

“I am delighted to make this announcement today with Mayor Houchen, on the formation of the UK2070 Teesside Taskforce. This is the first of a series of UK2070 Taskforces that will focus on places. This Taskforce will look in particular at the potential of freeports, steel, hydrogen and the wider net zero agenda. The Commission welcomes the opportunity to understand and learn from the Teesside Taskforce programme.”

The Mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen said:

“It is absolutely essential that we boost the Tees Valley’s economy, that’s why I have put freeports, green steel making and carbon capture technologies at the centre of my plan for jobs – a plan that is delivering good quality well paid jobs for people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool right now.
I welcome the UK2070 Commission’s Teesside Taskforce and its’ focus on our region, and I look forward to telling them about my plans to create jobs. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we secure the investment that will create the jobs we all want to see come to our region, so that local people can have more money in their pockets for them and their families.”

Lord Kerslake further commented:

“The Taskforce is a logical development from our most recent report, Go Big Go Local, which looked at the ‘levelling up’ agenda in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will draw together proposals to help create sustained new investment and open up new market opportunities through both existing programmes and new initiatives and funding streams. The opportunity to apply the ideas of the UK2070 Commission in specific places is an exciting one. The Teesside Taskforce will be a pioneer of this new approach.”

Jacob Young MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hydrogen, said:

“As Chair of the APPG on Hydrogen and Member of Parliament for Redcar, I’m delighted to see the formation of the UK2070 Teesside Taskforce with a commitment to study hydrogen and the net zero agenda. The UK2070 Teesside Taskforce is being launched at a crucial time and demonstrates the anticipation from political leaders, policymakers, and local businesses to support net-zero targets. I look forward to working with the Taskforce to create jobs and grow the local economy in Teesside.”

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of the Materials Processing Institute, said:

“As an advocate for the Green Industrial Revolution, I welcome the news that the UK2070 Commission are creating a Teesside Taskforce to focus on areas such as green steelmaking and net zero carbon technologies. I am pleased to be joining the Taskforce and to contribute my personal expertise in support of developing these industries in Teesside and for the UK.”

Go Big – Go Local: The UK2070 Report on a New Deal for Levelling Up the United Kingdom

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The UK2070 Commission has today found that COVID-19 has increased the urgency for a comprehensive, large scale plan to level the UK economy. In a follow up report to Make No Little Plans – Acting At Scale For A Fairer And Stronger Future – which found that the UK is the most unequal large country in the developed world – the UK2070 Commission has now found that the pandemic has exposed the UK’s economic dependency on London and the Wider South East. Only a balanced growth plan is likely to deliver greater prosperity without damaging environmental and social consequences.

The UK2070 Commission has prepared a post-COVID Action Plan setting out the priorities for action over the next ten years. Learning the lessons from the COVID-19 response, it proposes a major programme of investment in transport, skills and the advanced economy; coupled with a radical devolution of powers; and funding from Whitehall.

Click here to read the Report

The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission and former Head of the Civil Service, said:

“Our new post-COVID Action Plan sets out a proposed programme of action which unlocks capacity and delivers action at scale through local democratic leadership. We are calling on the Government to Go Big – Go Local.”

“We’re saying what is missing is a clear plan setting out the scale and form of levelling up, the actions required to deliver it, and measures and milestones to success.”

“COVID-19 may have changed the path to delivery of levelling up, but not its urgency and importance. The temptation of the government will be to rein in their ambitions and spending. This would be a serious error. To have any meaningful impact, what is needed now is a New Deal for ‘levelling up’.”

The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake

The UK2070 Commission found that COVID-19 has reinforced existing patterns of inequality in terms of wealth, ethnicity and gender, with its impacts being exacerbated by an over-centralised political system and economic dependency on London’s growth. Our research finds that COVID-19 will take at least 5 years to return the UK economy back to where it was – indeed, if there is sustained low economic growth there will be a continued regional recession outside Greater London and the Wider South East of England.

The current COVID-recovery programmes are short term and not sufficient to deliver the change required.  A dynamic recovery requires higher levels of growth, strong regional development policies and national targets for ‘levelling up’ the most disadvantaged communities in terms of access to good job opportunities and standards of basic services (e.g. medical).

The rhetoric of ‘levelling up’ must be translated into a £375bn 25-year New Deal strategy for a ‘just recovery’ to offset:

  • The £4bn per year gap in research and development investment, through creating at least four global centres of science and technology outside the UK’s ‘golden triangle’.
  • The £20bn per year cost of poor local connectivity, through major investment in transit systems in all major towns – and around 1000 miles of new, upgraded and electrified main railway lines and services to remoter communities.

The UK is the most centralised major developed economy, and this inhibits national economic growth. A real transfer of fiscal power to local and devolved governments is urgently required to allow recovery.

To read Go Big – Go Local: A New Deal for Levelling Up the United Kingdom in full, please click here.

The UK2070 Papers – Series 1

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The UK2070 Commission has set out a 10-Point Plan to tackle the regional inequalities that have blighted the UK for too long. The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for the Government to ‘think big’ if economic performance and social conditions are to be levelled-up across the UK.

The UK2070 Commission is therefore preparing a report to the Government proposing a clear plan for levelling-up, with coherent priorities. It has received a great deal of support for this initiative, including a range of think-pieces, which it has therefore prosed to issue as the UK2070 Papers.The first edition has been published today, 30th July, with subsequent editions to follow. Series One has nine papers focussing on the impact of COVID-19 on the future of the UK, including:

  • The weaknesses of the UK’s centralised political and economic system, which is threatening to intensify regional inequalities still further;
  • The need for fresh and radical policies to deal with the impacts on export markets, transport systems and town centres; and
  • The need for renewed devolution to allow distinctive local approaches to policy whether this is from Scottish and Welsh perspectives, Bristol City’s ‘One City Approach’ or local councils generally.

Feedback and comments are most welcome and can be sent to UK2070Commission@turntown.com, or on Twitter @UK_2070.

Statement: Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission

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The UK2070 Commission completed its Final Report in February 2020. That report set out a 10-Point Plan to overcome the deep-rooted regional inequalities that blight the lives of so many of our communities, and to accelerate economic growth across the whole of the UK. The health and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis, including the risk of a deep economic depression, has hugely increased the importance of our agenda.

That agenda has now been taken up by the Prime Minister in his commitment to ‘double-down’ on a levelling-up agenda for the UK. We warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s resolve.

The Commission shares the Prime Minister’s commitment and wants to see its 10- Point Plan implemented. Together with the encouragement of our Commissioners and many others who have supported us, UK2070 will therefore:

  • Provide an independent platform for debate and ideas about how to tackle our regional inequalities;
  • Keep under review the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the implications for regional growth and inequalities;
  • Act as a critical support to the government’s levelling-up agenda;
  • Contribute to the shaping of policy as it develops.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis the UK2070 Commission has made a further Call for Evidence. The emerging findings from the evidence reinforce the arguments in the UK2070 Commission’s 10-Point Plan; for a comprehensive and long-term approach to levelling-up the UK. They also strengthen the case for new executive and planning institutions to lead change in our cities, nations and regions – so that central government can concentrate on its core role of high-level UK policy and management.

The Covid-19 crisis and the emerging economic consequences have created radical uncertainty. This demands a clear plan for levelling-up, with coherent priorities, led by effective long-term institutions both for planning and for execution.


Lord Kerslake

Chair of the UK2070 Commission

Email UK2070Commission@turntown.com
Twitter @uk_2070

Statement: Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission – Preparing to Rebuild a Fairer and Stronger UK

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A month ago, I launched the UK2070 Commission Final Report Make No Little Plans: Acting At Scale For a Fairer and Stronger Future.

The Report presents a 10-Point programme of action to tackle the regional inequalities that have blighted the UK for too long. It highlights the need to ‘think big’ if economic performance and social conditions are to be levelled-up across the UK.

This report received wide support nationally, regionally and locally. The agenda for action has been endorsed across the country, from the Tyne to Cornwall, from Glasgow to London and from all the devolved nations. It received wide coverage in all the major national media and press. It has, as a result, helped generate a national conversation, reflected in the level of media traffic, with over 100,000 online hits on the day of the launch alone.

It is also clear that the agenda set out in the Report is reflected in the range of actions that have been set in hand by the Government immediately before the COVID 19 crisis. This includes the Chancellor’s budget statement on levelling up, including the priority that needs to be given to increasing significantly the investment in R&D and the Infrastructure of the UK.

The current COVID19 crisis itself has two implications for the work of the Commission:

  • Firstly, on a practical level we have had to rethink our programme – for example, the regional road-shows have had to be put on hold.
  • Secondly, the June event in the House of Lords to present a 100-day Report will now not take place.

This however does not lessen the importance of the Commission’s call for action. Not since the Second World War has there been a greater need for a clear Vision for the renewal of the UK, its wealth and wellbeing, as presented in our Report. It is now even more important to maintain our effort, albeit through different channels.

We are therefore continuing to engage with Government and other key bodies in anticipation of the need to kick-start the economy and to adapt to inevitable change with the same energy that is being applied to defeating the pandemic itself. I will therefore prepare a Progress Report for publication as soon as it is appropriate. This will take forward the proposals in the report, refresh its analytical basis and take account of any new evidence.

I therefore seek the continuing support of all – from government, business, civil society, think tanks and universities. On a practical basis you could do this by signing up to our Declaration of Intent and letting us know of any new evidence that you are aware of that we should bear in mind. In addition, I would welcome any think piece that you could contribute to the development of our thinking on the implications of the current crisis and the need for levelling-up of the UK.


Lord Kerslake

Email UK2070Commission@turntown.com
Twitter @uk_2070