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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

UK2070 Final Report Published

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MediaCityUK, Salford, 27 February 2020 – The UK2070 Commission issued both its Final Report Make No Little Plans – Acting At Scale For A Fairer And Stronger Future and an Executive Summary of this Report today, with chair Lord Kerslake, the former Head of the Home Civil Service, warning Government that it must “go big or go home” if it is to arrest further economic decline and social division.

Lord Kerslake said: “The Government’s desire to level up the UK economy is welcome. However, the scale of the challenge we face is such that we need a generational shift if we are to avoid serious decline and division. Many people in Britain feel left behind by growth elsewhere and that has contributed to an acrimonious debate about Europe. We now face a decade of potential disruption – leaving the European Union, confronting the impact of climate change and adjusting to the fourth industrial revolution.

“Our research shows clearly that these inequalities did not grow up overnight. They reflect an over-centralised system that fails to comprehend the reality of regional need and consistently comes up with policies that are either under-resourced, too fragmented, or too short-lived to make a difference. Some policy guidelines have actively stacked the odds against the regions. Time is not on our side and we cannot afford to keep on repeating those mistakes. Government must therefore think big, plan big and act at scale. Bluntly, if it can’t go big, it should go home.”

Click here to read the Executive Summary

The UK2070 Commission calls on Government to stand alongside business and community organisations and make a public pledge to tackle inequality through a 10-point programme contained with the Final Report. Amongst these are:

  • Tripling the new Shared Prosperity Fund to £15bn per annum and continuing that commitment for 20 years – an extra expenditure of £200bn over that already planned.
  • Investing in a new connectivity revolution, transforming the connections between cities, within cities and beyond cities to poorly connected towns. Infrastructure investment needs to increase to at least 3% of GDP per annum.
  • Creating new ‘Networks of Excellence” in regional Research and Development to match the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Shifting power and funding away from Westminster and Whitehall through a radical programme of devolution.
  • Strengthening the local economies in disadvantaged towns.
  • Tackling the historic underperformance of the UK on skills.

Click here to read the Final Report

Lord Kerslake continued: “This is not a debate about North vs South or towns vs cities. If we continue on our current trajectory then the threats to regional livelihoods and the pressures on London and the South East will become so severe that everybody will lose out. We also need to recognise that the price of failing to reverse this decline will far outweigh the cost of investing now in creating greater opportunities. Properly investing in levelling-up will come at a cost – but so will doing nothing about it.”

The UK2070 Commission’s findings represent the culmination of 18 months of research and consultation carried out by six UK universities, supported by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a specialist research organisation based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Commission’s Final Report offers graphic insights into the impact of lost productivity – and points to the need for substantially increased long-term investment in infrastructure, skills, research and development and reviving local economies.

“The government’s recent decision to proceed in full with HS2 is correct because it represents coordinated investment at a scale that has the potential to benefit the whole economy,” said Lord Kerslake. “But that is only the start. The immensity of the challenge the UK faces means we need to see sustained interventions of a similar magnitude across the economy.”

Lord Kerslake concluded: “Over the past 18 months, the Commission has gathered disturbing evidence about the human impacts of inequality that no one should be comfortable with. Bluntly, it is also clear that trying to determine the future of regional Britain from Whitehall alone has not worked. It is therefore vital that the government recognises the reality of the challenge they face to truly level up the UK. We start from having huge inequalities now that are only growing wider.

“Unless the Government’s levelling up programme is comprehensive, coordinated and long term it is destined to go the way of the failed initiatives of previous administrations. This will result in even greater disillusionment. We can create a fairer and stronger future, but only if we act at scale.”

UK2070 Final Report To Be Published

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We are pleased to report that the Final Report of the UK2070 Commission: Make No Little Plans – Acting At Scale For A Fairer And Stronger Future will be published on Thursday 27 February 2020 at MediaCityUK, Salford.

More details will follow here in due course.

Second Report of the UK2070 Commission published

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The UK2070 Commission, which is chaired by the former head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake, says deep-rooted economic divides across the UK will worsen unless government addresses strategic failings in regional policy which stretch back 50 years. The Commission reported earlier this year that London’s global success was contrasted elsewhere in the UK with some of the worst inequalities in Europe, with stop-start regional policy failing to tackle problems that have led to economic under-performance and lower healthy life expectancy.

Our Second Report says government must urgently develop a long-term vision for the UK which decisively addresses deprivation, unlocks regional economic potential and confronts the challenges presented by climate change and new technologies. It identifies seven national priorities for action which we believe are vital if worsening performance and widening divisions between different parts of the UK are to be avoided.


Click here to read the Executive Summary

Lord Kerslake warned: “Time is not on our side. Successive governments have spent the last 50 years trying to rebalance the UK economy and create a fairer and stronger nation. Those efforts have failed and the hard evidence uncovered by our inquiry shows that we remain one of the most unequal and divided nations in Europe. If we continue our current approach those divisions will worsen, potentially to a serious degree. We need to adopt a strategy that allows London to sustain its global role whilst at the same time targeting some systematic firepower at raising the economic performance of regional Britain. The research and consultation carried out by the UK2070 Commission across the country has identified both where we can make progress and the actions needed to deliver it. It will not be sufficient to tinker with existing policies or make incremental changes to budgets – the system itself is consistently failing to deliver effective solutions.”


Click the image above to read the Full Report

In our Second Report, entitled ‘Moving Up The Gears’, the UK2070 Commission has made a series of detailed recommendations intended to rebalance the UK economy whilst sustaining the performance of London and the South East. Those recommendations are in summary:

1] Climate Change: protect disadvantaged communities who are most at risk from its impact and use the market opportunities created by a move to a carbon zero economy to rebalance our economic geography.
2] Deliver a 20-year connectivity revolution: commit to renewing and extending out-dated transport infrastructure so that it reflects the present economy rather than the past; reconnect marginalised communities and shift towards shared transport and new technologies.
3] Create a global centre of excellence in industrial digital technologies: bring Britain’s leading regional universities together to power-up technologies that have the capacity to create 20,000 businesses, increase economic value by £1.2bn a year and upskill a million industrial workers.
4] Strengthen the foundations of local economies: provide higher quality advice for SMEs delivering local, everyday services; put refocused Further Education at the heart of a refreshed skills agenda; introduce universal standards to ensure adequate local services, particularly in marginalised communities.
5] Accelerate devolution: devolve decisions about regional economies to all regions, not just those with government-sanctioned deals; introduce Parliamentary Committees and Cabinet positions which recognise and respond to the Powerhouses of the North, Midlands, South West and South East.
6] A plan for England: introduce a spatial plan for England setting out explicit, funded priorities for coordinated, connected development which supports the UK’s global role whilst addressing regional inequalities.
7] Level the playing field for funding: on top of a £250bn UK Renewal Fund outlined in the Commission’s First Report, introduce a regional investment bank network; change Treasury investment rules so that they accommodate regional variations and help rebalance the economy according to the long-term vision.

Lord Kerslake said: “Our initial report highlighted the stop-start nature of regional policies, the inadequate resources underpinning them, and an over-centralised governance that fails to comprehend regional need and has an inherent bias towards only funding areas which are already successful. Regardless of the impact of Brexit, we have gone way beyond the point where simple policy change is the appropriate response. We need a new model for delivering regional policy, one armed with the right resources and the right tools and working towards a long-term goal. One of the most striking aspects of the way the UK is governed is that while it has policies aplenty, there is no clear, guiding vision for the future of the nation in the decades to come. We are also taking too many operational decisions centrally and in doing so failing to respond to the fine-grain of local need. The question is not how we pay for all this, but whether we’re willing to accept the continuing cost of not doing so – a cost which will be measured not only in the persistent economic under-performance of the UK but in damaged lives and deprived communities.”

Lord Kerslake said that whilst London’s global success was a contrast to other parts of the UK, it was critical that the capital’s performance was made more sustainable.
“The correct response is not North versus South, but a coordinated strategy which ensures London does not overheat and that our regional economies grow and gather momentum. This can be a united vision for the future, but we start by recognising that there is significant ground to make up in the English regions, even those with vibrant cities. The Power up the North campaign which followed the publication of our First Report is a reflection of great ambition and untapped potential. But there are parts of regional Britain where the lives people lead and the fabric of the world around them is disturbingly deprived. No government with a meaningful vision for the UK’s future can afford for that to continue. The Power Up the North campaign pointed to a real appetite for progress and the need for a more effective way of unlocking that potential. Too many decisions about the regions are being taken in Whitehall when more progress would be made by regionally-owned solutions.”

Lord Kerslake concluded: “The UK’s inequalities have persisted for too long and government must start moving up the gears – first, by acknowledging that these inequalities are not a policy challenge but a strategic threat; second, by accepting that they are too complex and localised to be solved in Whitehall alone. Finally, this has to be a long-term commitment which acts as a commonly agreed guiding light. This amounts to a leadership test for whoever is in government in the decades to come. It will define the Britain of the future.”