If you would like to contact us about our work, please email: UK2070Commission@turntown.com

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 2

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In February of this year, as part of our Final Report, the UK2070 Commission created a 10-Point Plan to tackle the regional inequalities that have blighted the UK for many decades. Subsequent to publishing Make No Little Plans – Acting At Scale For A Fairer And Stronger Future the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has transformed all of our lives, but has also highlighted even further the need for Government to ‘think big’ if economic performance and social conditions are to be improved across the UK.

In October 2020 the UK2070 Commission plans to publish a report to Government, proposing a plan with coherent priorities for how to carry out the Government’s stated aim of ‘levelling-up’ the UK economy. The UK2070 Commission is pleased to have received a great deal of support for this initiative, including a range of think-pieces, which we are choosing to issue as the UK2070 Papers.

Series 1 was published in August, with the September edition published today. Series 2 has nine papers focussing on the impact of COVID-19 on the future of the UK, including:

  • An assessment of how COVID-19 could drive changes to local government funding and the ongoing balance between centrally-raised and locally-raised revenues;
  • Analysis of both the higher education and further education sectors, both for the vital role each plays in addressing regional inequalities, and for how they must now be more related to their local economy as ‘place’ will matter more, and not less, after the pandemic, and;
  • Discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on social housing provision and the wider housing market; on the construction industry’s supply chain; and perspectives from Wales and the East Midlands.

To read The UK2070 Papers – Series 2, 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.”

The UK2070 National Symposium – Facing up to Inequalities across the UK

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The UK2070 National Symposium, held at Leeds Civic Hall on 13 June 2019, heard speakers from all parts of the United Kingdom call for fundamental changes to address long-standing and deep-rooted inequalities throughout the country.

The Symposium provided an opportunity for the UK2070 Commission to present and test the findings in the First Report of the UK2070 Commission. This included the Report’s Agenda for Action based around the need to:

  • Deliver effective devolution and decentralisation;
  • Restructure the economy;
  • Enable long term spatial planning;
  • Provide stable long-term funding for action.

We will be holding another symposium later in the year – more information will be added to the Events Page soon.

To view the day’s full programme itinerary please click here, or alternatively click on the hyperlink on a speaker’s name to view the presentation they gave to the Symposium (a transcript of the accompanying speech is also embedded in the PDF where possible).

Speakers included:

Councillor Judith Blake CBE (Chair of the Core Cities UK Network), whose leadership of Leeds City Council demonstrated the potential for local action where there is vision and resources.
The Right Honourable The Lord Kerslake (Chair of the UK2070 Commission), who set out the challenges in the UK2070 First Report under the theme of Bringing the Nations Together.
The Right Honourable Andy Burnham (The Mayor of Greater Manchester), who called for a Powering up of the North as key to answering the question “Devolution – What Next?
Professor Philip McCann (Chair of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Sheffield Management School and Tagliaferri Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge), who set out unequivocal evidence on the scale and nature of the problems of inequality, drawing upon new international comparisons from OECD research.
Boe Pahari (Global Head of Infrastructure Equity & Director North West Region at AMP Capital), who drew upon his experience globally of investing long-term in infrastructure, demonstrating the need for a more strategic and visionary approach based on the theme of ‘From Imagination to Infrastructure’.
Mayor James Palmer (The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough), who highlighted the challenges created for areas of growth and the need for innovative approaches to housing policy; especially in the delivery of affordable housing.
Dr. George W. McCarthy (President and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy), who demonstrated through international examples, ranging from the USA to Taiwan, of countries being transformed by long term vision and commitment to change.
The Right Honourable The Lord Heseltine CH (Former Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State) who set out the institutional challenges of delivering change within the culture of inertia that presently pervades the British political establishment.

The Full Programme included contributions from:

Professor Gillian Bristow (Professor in Economic Geography and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University)
Deborah Cadman OBE (Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority)
Emma Degg (Chief Executive of the North West Business Leadership Team)
Professor Duncan Maclennan CBE (Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow)
John Mothersole (Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council)
Peter Nears (Executive Director of Strategic Planning at The Peel Group)

Young Professionals Panel, chaired by Dr. Lucy Natarajan (University College London)

The Symposium was also addressed from the following leading young professionals on a range of perspectives about future challenges:
Tom Arnold (PhD Researcher at The University of Manchester, researching transport planning and devolution in the North of England)
Philip Brown (UK2070 Commission Research Associate for The University of Sheffield)
Dr. Stefania Fiorentino (PhD in Planning and Economic Geography from the Bartlett School of Planning; Senior Consultant in Economic Development and Planning at AECOM)
Kathryn Irish (Digital Waste and Recycling Advisor at Leeds City Council)
Jane Healey Brown (Head of Town Planning at Arup North West & Yorkshire; Greater Manchester Commissioner for Planning and Housing)

First Report of the UK2070 Commission published

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The UK2070 Commission is proud to today publish The First Report of the UK2070 Commission: Fairer and Stronger – Rebalancing the UK Economy ahead of our National Symposium by the same name on Thursday 13th June 2019 at Leeds Civic Hall.


Click here to read the Executive Summary

Our First Report states that the regional inequalities which blight economic performance and life-chances in the UK may become significantly worse unless drastic action is taken.

Whilst London and the South East of England confront increasing pressures on living costs and resources as they soak up most of the UK’s job growth and productivity, our report argues that many people and businesses outside of these areas are likely to miss out on the benefits of growth.

Our report estimates that more than half of the new jobs will go to London and the South East when it makes up just over a third of the population.

Click the image above to read the Full Report 

To tackle regional inequality, the UK2070 Commission proposes:

  • Much greater devolution of powers and funding, including the creation of four new ‘super regional’ economic development agencies.
  • A spatial plan to guide the future development of the whole of the UK.
  • Action to harness new technologies and strengthen local economies.
  • Long-term investment through a new National Renewal Fund which would rebalance the economy over a 25-year period.

Thank you to everyone who showed an interest in attending the UK2070 National Symposium in Leeds – unfortunately both the main attendee list and the reserve list were SOLD OUT. To read a summary of the event, including copies of speaker’s presentations, please click here.
We will be holding another symposium later in the year – more information will be added to the Events Page soon.

UK2070 Commission National Symposium, Thursday 13th June

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Thank you to everyone who showed an interest in attending the UK2070 National Symposium in Leeds – unfortunately both the main attendee list and the reserve list SOLD OUT.
To read a summary of this event, including copies of speaker’s presentations, please click here.
We will be holding another symposium later in the year – more information will be added to the Events Page soon.

The UK2070 Commission are pleased to today announce further details for our National Symposium, to be held from 10am-4pm on Thursday 13th June 2019 at Leeds Civic Hall thanks to our partners and hosts, Leeds City Council. The event will act as a National Forum to both share the work of the Commission to date, and also to obtain the views of interested stakeholders about our First Report, which is presently being drafted and will be published later this spring prior to this event.

The UK2070 Commission is particularly looking forward to hearing the thoughts of policymakers, politicians, business leaders and civil society about our work to date; and will use comments received in Leeds to both inform our work and to refine the First Report prior to publication of the Final Report. The event will also see a number of high profile speakers in attendance debating the themes of the report and facilitating further comment from the floor. These include:

  • Former Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State, The Right Honourable The Lord Heseltine CH;
  • The Mayor of Greater Manchester, The Right Honourable Andy Burnham;
  • Chair of the Core Cities Group, Councillor Judith Blake CBE;
  • Chair of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Sheffield Management School and Tagliaferri Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Professor Philip McCann;
  • Global Head of Infrastructure Equity & Director North West Region at AMP Capital, Boe Pahari;
  • Professor in Economic Geography and Dean of Research for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Cardiff University, Professor Gillian Bristow;
  • The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Mayor James Palmer;
  • Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow, Professor Duncan Maclennan CBE;
  • Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Deborah Cadman OBE;
  • Executive Director of Strategic Planning at The Peel Group, Peter Nears;
  • President and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Dr. George W. McCarthy;
  • Chief Executive of the North West Business Leadership Team, Emma Degg.

We will be holding another symposium later in the year – more information will be added to the Events Page soon.

In the meantime, the Commission would like to remind readers that while the initial Call For Evidence ended on 16th November 2018, due to unprecedented demand and having received in excess of 100 submissions already, our Call for Evidence remains open should you or your organisation not already have contributed – for more information please click the link provided.

Lord Kerslake speech on the progress of the UK2070 Commission to date

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Good evening and thank you for inviting me to talk to you about the work of the UK2070 Commission.

The UK2070 Commission is an independent inquiry into the deep – rooted spatial inequalities in the United Kingdom.

Now there has been a debate about these inequalities and how best to tackle them for as long as I have involved in public service.

The uncomfortable reality though is that despite the government initiatives that have been taken, the economic disparities, particularly between London and the South East and the rest of the country have grown.

I doubt that I need to quote too many of the statistics to this audience, but to give just two from the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice that I was a part of:

  • Median incomes in the North West, North East, West Midlands, and the South West are now more than a third below those of London and the South East.
  • In London, the UK has the richest region in Northern Europe, yet we also have six of the ten poorest regions, making the UK the continent’s most geographically unbalanced economy.

If you remain in any doubt on this, our website carries a think piece by Professor Philip McCann on the perceptions of Regional Inequality and the Geography of Discontent. It compares the UK to 30 other OECD countries across 28 different indicators and demonstrates to my satisfaction that the UK is one of the most regionally unbalanced countries in the industrialised world, second only perhaps to Slovakia.

The impact of these acute and growing economic spatial disparities is threefold:
Firstly, it means that we are not taking full advantage of the economic opportunities that those parts of the UK have to offer.
Secondly, it creates an imbalance of wealth and opportunity that in turn creates division.
Thirdly, it creates enormous pressures in terms of population growth, housing affordability and overloaded infrastructure on the economically performing parts of the country.
In short, nobody wins.

There is therefore a compelling case for continuing to explore these disparities and how they might be reduced.

This case is made even stronger by the potential impact of Brexit, which most economic commentators expect to widen our economic divisions, especially if it happens without an agreed deal with the European Union.

Given their longstanding nature and our previous inability to close them, a reasonable question to ask is how this Commission will be different.

I think that it is distinctive in two main ways.

Firstly, it is consciously long game. We want to look back fifty years and forward fifty years – hence the title UK2070. This will allow us to look at past and potential patterns of investment over a long period. A longer view is also vital if we want to provide a proper context for investment in major infrastructure, whether road, rail, ports, airports or ICT.

We will of course look for and identify early wins, and set out an agenda for action. This would include exploring new meta-regional or provincial bodies to promote economic growth.
However, the disparities are longstanding and so it would not be surprising if some of the interventions needed are equally so.

Secondly, in terms of distinctiveness, the Commission will explore the potential of an Economic Spatial Framework to help address these inequalities.

To date, across different governments, there has been an essential reliance on the market to address spatial inequalities, with relatively modest spatial interventions.

This is pretty clearly a reliance that has not delivered. Whilst governments cannot direct where and how the private sector develops, it can shape this development through its decisions and actions.

Such spatial frameworks exist in different forms in most of Europe and for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Indeed Scotland is on its third spatial plan, which it sees as the spatial expression of its economic strategy. However, no such plan has been developed for England.

A national economic spatial strategy that in turns links to provincial and local spatial strategies could provide a much needed context for big investment decisions, and be a powerful enabler for devolved decision making at regional level.

It will not be the role of the Commission to produce such a plan – that is for Government.

However, we will lay the foundations for the current or a future government to act on this.
We have consciously chosen the scope of our Commission to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland rather than just England.

This is so that we can build on, learn from their work in developing economic spatial strategies, and ensure that the key links between the different nations are addressed.
The Commission that has been formed is a very strong one, drawing from local government, business, academia and the policy world.

We are fortunate to have support from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield and University College London, The Sir Hugh and Lady Sykes Charitable Trust and Turner Townsend.

Work is now well underway and the Commission has already held four meetings.
We have published our Prospectus, set up a website and identified a set of Key Questions that we want to address. A Programme of Research has been developed and a Call for Evidence undertaken.
Our timetable is to produce a First Report this spring and we are holding a Symposium in Leeds on the 13th June to discuss it. We will produce a Second Report in September and a Final Report in January 2020.

One of my key ambitions for the Commission is that we challenge the received wisdom and long held assumptions about these inequalities through the use of evidence.
This will help to ensure that future policy is based on a true understanding on the nature and scale of the task.

Our website already has ten very stimulating think pieces, including the one by Professor McCann that I referred to earlier.

We are still in the relatively early stages of thinking through the interventions needed.
However, I am clear in my own mind that much of what we have had to date has been underpowered, peashooter policies, which have not been sustained.

Indeed much of the public investment has worked in the opposite direction. This is not to deny the individual successes of places like Manchester.

However, if we are to really shift the dial on spatial inequalities, what we require for the future will need to be structural, generational, interlocking and at scale.

The interventions involved could be organised around four key themes – investment, devolution, knowledge development, and spatial impact. The ‘how, who, what and where’ if you like. In all this, we can learn a lot from what happened with the unification of West and East Germany.

Let me conclude by saying that I think that the Commission is a brilliant initiative focussed on a vital issue and I feel very fortunate to be chairing it. It will go to the heart of the issue because it will lay out both the scale of the challenge and the scale of the interventions needed to truly tackle it.

It can therefore lay the foundations for the specific projects and initiatives to be delivered over the next two decades.

Please do get involved!

Thank You.

Development Corporation Hosts UK2070 Commission

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·       UK2070 Commission hosts strategic meeting outside of Greater London
·       Development Corporation outlines opportunities to transform Tees Valley

The UK2070 Commission has visited the South Tees Development Corporation to learn about the UK’s biggest development opportunity, as it seeks to shape national and regional economic policy.

The Commission, which is chaired by Lord Kerslake, chose to take this strategic meeting outside of London, to Tees Valley, to better understand the opportunities and issues across the 4,500-acre site. In partnership with the National Infrastructure Commission, a round-table discussion with senior stakeholders such as PD Ports, focused on the powers of devolution to the regions, north-south inequalities and Freeport opportunities post Brexit.

The 30-strong group was also given a tour of the former SSI site, encompassing Teesport, showcasing the development prospects with an emphasis on its context in relation to transport and utilities infrastructure.

The purpose of the Commission is to explore the nature and depth of regional inequalities in the UK and highlight the imbalances to Government, identifying how policy can be shaped to address this. It aims to reinforce the devolution agenda of regions to maximise their potential for sustainable, inclusive growth and aims to support both regional strategies and Government’s Industrial Strategy.

John McNicholas, Engineering and Programme Director of South Tees Development Corporation, said: “It’s a real coup to have captured the UK2070’s attention and it’s superb that they’ve chosen South Tees to hold such a meeting outside of London.

“We’ve got a long-term plan to transform this site and the region over the next 20 years. It was great to highlight to the Commission the task in hand and show them our international-scale opportunities.”

“They regularly speak to many other influential people and organisations and will be well placed to positively talk up the site and wider Tees Valley.”

The Development Corporation has recently achieved a number of major milestones, including acquiring more than 1,400 acres of readily developable land from Tata Steel Europe; commencing a £1million access road scheme in South Bank; and instigating compulsory purchase proceedings for a further 870 acres of land held by SSI UK in receivership.

During the visit, the Commission also heard how the site has seen a total of £137million of Government funding, and learned that the £14million awarded in the Autumn Budget in 2018 is now being used to remediate land ready for new investors.

Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said: “Our visit to Teesside has been a valuable opportunity to meet with local leaders and hear about their ambitious plans for redevelopment.

“We look forward to continuing to work with partners in the North East to make the case for stable, long-term infrastructure investment.”

Lord Kerslake, UK2070 Commission Chair, said: “The UK2070 Commission provides an opportunity to look afresh at the large and growing economic disparities in this country. The UK2070 Commission visit will provide an opportunity to look at how this plays out in a particular place. The powerful leadership being shown locally cannot disguise the scale of the challenge. I hope that our report will give some impetus to what you are seeking to achieve”.

COO of PD Ports Jerry Hopkinson said: “We are delighted to welcome the UK2070 Commission to the Tees Valley as it seeks to shape and influence national and regional economic policy. The visit was an opportunity to highlight the significant economic opportunity here in the Tees Valley with ambitious redevelopment plans within the South Tees Development Corporation site. At Teesport we have seen more than£1billion invested, directly by the business and through third-party investors in the last ten years, to support the growth of international trade. The port will undoubtedly be a catalyst in attracting further inward investment to the former steelworks site; supporting the delivery of long-term economic growth across the region.”

Bill McElroy, Head of Industry Strategy – Programme Advisory at Turner & Townsend, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the UK2070 Commission, by chairing the debate in Redcar. This follows a similar session last November in London.”

UCL Research Events for the UK2070 Commission

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In the first half of 2019, the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL is running a series of new research work, in support of the inquiry into spatial inequalities. Further to the recent think piece on ‘left behind places’, in collaboration with Newcastle University, UCL’s UK2070 project team are running a series of events focusing on economic and strategic thinking, to feed into the work of the Commission.  These exchange events will examine a range of perspectives on some of the key issues behind spatial inequalities, as well as exploring the 50 horizon with a wider range of stakeholders.

The team at the Bartlett School of Planning is led by Prof John Tomaney, who also acts as a Commissioner. He is examining economic models, bringing in the expertise of scholars and practitioners working in the field. Dr Lucy Natarajan is conducting a series of research events with diverse stakeholder groups around the country.  For more information, please get in touch with the Bartlett Team.

Eastbourne Beach Looking North East from the pier (Source: Oast House Archive via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Town Hall and Shambles Market Hall, Stockton on Tees. Picture taken viewing north. (Source: Petegal-half user at Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Report on Economic Performance of British Cities submitted by cityevolutions.org.uk

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Our weekly series of Think Pieces continues today with a report published by Structural Transformation, Adaptability and City Economic Evolutions and cityevolutions.org.uk entitled The Economic Performance of Britain’s Cities: Patterns, Processes and Policy Implications. Written by seven academics at five universities, the report seeks to analyse the economic evolution of Britain’s cities since 1971 by considering their Travel To Work Areas (TTWAs) to construct an annual data series on employment, output, labour productivity, skills and wages for 85 cities in the United Kingdom. This unique dataset was then used to consider how cities have differed in their growth patterns since 1971; how they have adapted to the major shifts in the structure of the UK’s national economy; what impact four major recessions have had on British cities; and lastly to establish the extent to which the UK’s ‘productivity problem’ is itself a problem with a city dimension.

To read City Evolutions’ report in full, please click here.


Professor Ron Martin is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Cambridge; Research Associate of the Centre for Business Research at the Judge Business School; and is a Professorial Fellowship at St Catharine’s College.

Professor David Bailey, is an expert on economic restructuring and industrial policy, but is perhaps best known for his knowledge of the British and West Midlands car manufacturing. He sits as Professor of Industrial Strategy at Aston Business School.

Dr. Emil Evenhuis is Research Fellow in Economic Geography at The University of Southampton. His research is focused on how cities and regions cope with economic change, and in particular on the role of institutions and policies in facilitating this.

Ben Gardiner is director of the Regions, Cities and Local Areas team at Cambridge Econometrics, having previously worked for the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre Directorate-General.

Professor Andy Pike is the Sir Henry Daysh Chair of Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University. His central research interest is the geographical political economy of local, regional and urban development, governance and policy.

Professor Peter Sunley is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Southampton. His research is focused on regional development and growth; venture capital and firm finance; the innovation and creative industries and the geographies of labour and welfare policy.

Professor Peter Tyler sits as Professor of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Cambridge and President and Fellow of St. Catharine’s College. He has served as a Project Director for over seventy major research projects for the UK Government.

Collaborative Think Piece by UCL and Newcastle Universities on ‘left-behind-places’.

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The UK2070 Commission has today published a ‘provocation’ submitted to our Call For Evidence written by three academics at the Bartlett School of Planning and the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies entitled Land use planning, inequality and the problem of ‘left-behind-places’.

Professor John Tomaney, Professor Andy Pike and Dr. Lucy Natarajan argue that to find new ways to address the problems of ‘left-behind-places’ is of critical concern for the future of the United Kingdom, and that any forthcoming reform of the planning system should make this a policy priority. Their report considers ‘left-behind-places’ – typically formerly industrial regions – to discover the political economy of these ‘left-behind’ regions; to critically account recent efforts to ‘regenerate’ deindustrialised regions; to outline new policy prescriptions for ‘left-behind’ regions and to consider the politics of local and regional economic development, including the kinds of institutions that are required to affect a new economic future in such disadvantaged places.

They find that former industrial regions have presented a persistent problem for public policy for several decades, both in the UK and abroad – before detailing the scale of these inequalities in the UK, and discussing whether a new politics of redistribution is required. To read their Think Piece in full, please click here.

 
Professor John Tomaney is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. He has published over 100 books and articles on questions of local and regional development including Local and Regional Development (2nd Edition, Routledge, 2017) and the Handbook of Local and Regional Development (Routledge 2011) co-authored with Andy Pike and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose. Professor Tomaney has conducted research for, amongst many others, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and both Government Departments and regional development agencies at home and overseas. Professor Tomaney also sits as a Commissioner for UK2070.

Professor Andy Pike is the Sir Henry Daysh Chair of Regional Development Studies at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University with a central research interest in the geographical political economy of local, regional and urban development, governance and policy. His research has informed local, regional and urban development, governance and policy for international (e.g. the United Nations International-Labour Organization (UN-ILO); national (e.g. the National Audit Office, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation); regional (e.g. Local Enterprise Partnerships, trade unions, voluntary organisations) and local (e.g. Local Authorities, Development Agencies) institutions.

Dr. Lucy Natarajan works at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London; whilst also lecturing at both Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University and serving as a content editor for the Built Environment journal. Dr. Natarajan’s research centres on the relationship between the public and government, looking across diverse stakeholders, uses of new technologies, and building knowledge in public decision making. Her recent publications have both explained the value of lay knowledge to spatial planning and also the difficulties in involving communities with major renewable infrastructure.

 

Dr. Nicholas Falk publishes ‘Making Fairer Places: A Think Piece on Land Values’ to UK2070 Commission

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The UK2070 Commission has today published a submission received through our Call For Evidence – Making Fairer Places: A Think Piece on Land Values – written by Dr. Nicholas Falk, Executive Director of the URBED Trust and co-winner of the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize.

Dr. Falk’s paper seeks to discuss how the UK overcomes spatial inequalities by discussing both what presently works for other countries internationally, and also what has worked for the United Kingdom in the past. Dr. Falk describes his two other main aims as:

  • To explain why harnessing land values is crucial to creating a more effective, equitable and efficient UK, and rebalancing our cities.
  • To propose how progress could be achieved in stages, starting where it will be easiest before making more fundamental changes that may take longer.

Among a variety of other recommendations, Dr. Falk proposes that a first step in mobilising private and public investment to help in tackling spatial inequalities would be to review the property tax system, with the aim of implementing a new system on the 30th anniversary of the last revaluation of domestic rates in 1991. With this process presently being undertaken in Scotland, Dr. Falk writes that applying this change throughout the country may go a long way to reducing the lack of affordable housing and to diminish unfilled gaps in transport and energy infrastructure; adding that it may also give young people more of a stake in society by reducing inter-generational inequities.

Dr Falk also writes of seven ‘ideas proposals’ which local authorities could seek to apply, centred on: Spatial Growth Plans; a better model for land assembly; growth bonds; establishing Community Development Corporations, Community Land Trusts or Local Infrastructure Finance Trusts; the creation of a Ground Value Rating and a Municipal Investment Corporation; and the promotion of community or cooperative banks. To read about each of these and much more, click here to read Dr. Falk’s full report:

 

Dr Nicholas Falk, BA MBA Hon FRIBA Hon MRTPI is an economist, urbanist and strategic planner. He founded the consultancy URBED in 1976, which now specialises in masterplanning and urban design from their office in Manchester. He is currently Executive Director of The URBED Trust, and was co-winner of the 2014 Wolfson Economics Prize for showing how to build garden cities that are visionary, viable and popular.

His most recent commission has been to advise the Greater London Authority Deputy Mayor for Housing on international good practice published as Capital Gains: a better land assembly model for London.

Under The URBED Trust (urban and economic development), he is leading an innovative sustainable-housing project in India. In the last few years his work and interests has focused on new communities, the future of the suburbs, historic centres, and the adaptive reuse of old buildings. He has recently been advising on an urban extension to Oxford, and previously produced the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth.

He teaches the Economics of Regeneration and Reuse at New York University in London, and is a Visiting Professor at the School of the Built Environment, University of the West of England. He is a member of the Town and Country Planning Association’s Policy Advisory Council, an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He lives in Stroud and London.

The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place submit Think Piece to UK2070 on National Spatial Strategies

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The fourth edition of our weekly series of Think Pieces continues today with a recently published report by The University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place entitled ‘National’ Spatial Strategies in an Age of Inequality: Insights from the United Kingdom, Ireland & France. The report features a foreword written by the Chair of the UK2070 Commission, Lord Kerslake, and each of the seven chapters are variously written by ten academics, including UK2070 Commissoners Professors Ian Wray and Vincent Goodstadt. Together they bring into conversation the national spatial strategies currently being pursued in Wales, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland so as to extract lessons for England – which presently has a lack of consequential national spatial strategising.

The report seeks to ask: what spatial strategies exist in these jurisdictions? What have been their recent histories? What is the current status of spatial strategising? What kinds of politics surround plan-making and implementation? Who owns plans? Who funds plans? How are plans governed? What works and what does not?

The seven chapters of the report are authored as follows, and can be read in full on the following link:

Foreword
Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission.

1) Introducing ‘National’ Spatial Strategies In An Age Of Inequality: Insights From The United Kingdom, Ireland And France
Professor Mark Boyle, University of Liverpool; Dr. Aileen Jones, Liverpool City-Region Combined Authority; Dr. Olivier Sykes, University of Liverpool; and Professor Ian Wray, University of Liverpool.

2) The Evolution Of National-Level Planning In Wales: A Retrenchment From Spatial Planning To Land-Use Planning
Dr. Neil Harris, Cardiff University.

3) National Spatial Planning In France: From Nostalgia To Reinvention?
Professor Xavier Desjardins, Sorbonne Université.

4) The Regional Development Strategy Northern Ireland, Inequality And Balanced Development
Dr. Brendan Murtagh, Queen’s University Belfast.

5) National Strategic Planning In Scotland: Past, Present And Future
Professor Greg Lloyd, Ulster University and Wageningen University.

6) Project Ireland 2040: Business As Usual Or A New Dawn?
Dr. Niamh Moore-Cherry, University College Dublin.

7) A New Agenda For England and The UK: The Missing Pieces In The Jigsaw
Professor Vincent Goodstadt, Common Futures Network and University of Manchester.

Think Piece on the UK’s regional disparities and development published by Dr. David Nguyen of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research

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Our weekly series of Think Pieces continues today with our third paper, Regional disparities and development in the UK written by Dr. David Nguyen, a Research Economist in the Trade, Investment and Productivity Directorate at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). The report uses data to show how the UK’s regional disparities have varied over time from the 1960s to the present day; before seeking to model the ‘under-performance’ of regions in order to establish what a ‘spatially rebalanced’ region may look like.

Dr. Nguyen comes to a number of conclusions, including finding that labour productivity differs across the UK’s regions – with 72% of the UK having an output per hour worked below the national average (NUTS-3 regions). Indeed, using data for regional labour productivity from the Office for National Statistic’s Gross Value Added dataset at a local authority level he finds that the absolute difference in regional productivity can vary by as much as 107 percentage points, from just 65% of average productivity in Powys to 172% above the national average in Tower Hamlets.

However, Dr. Nguyen goes on to state that by definition regional disparities are relative, and that they are meaningless without a politically agreed benchmark. Combined with the question of whether both Greater London and the South East of England over-performs at the expense of the rest of the UK; or if indeed other regions of the UK are in fact ‘under-performing’, Dr. Nguyen adds that there should be a national conversation about regional economic performance. This conversation could focus on whether improvements should be compared against either national performance, or the long-term potential of the region itself.

Read Dr. Nguyen’s Think Piece in full here:

Dr. Nguyen is also a Research Associate for the Office for National Statistics’ Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE). His main research interest is to analyse, measure and understand modern economies, with his present work focused on improving measurements of GDP and welfare, focusing on the importance of intangible inputs in an increasingly digital economy (e.g. cloud services, AI, data).

The Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory at The Manchester Urban Institute publish Think Piece on spatial inequality in the UK

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In the second of the UK2070 Commission’s weekly series of Think Pieces, The Spatial Policy and Analysis Laboratory at The Manchester Urban Institute have today published a new paper entitled ‘Measuring Spatial Inequality in the UK: What We Know and What We Should Know?’

Written by a team of academics from The University of Manchester, the piece compares methods to measure spatial inequality, including the Gini coefficient and the related Luxembourg Income Study; the United Nations’ Human Development and City Prosperity Indexes; and the Inclusive Growth Monitor approach, created by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the University of Manchester. The paper offers a critique of these measures of spatial inequality, and assesses how the United Kingdom fares on each scale.

The paper then looks at the spatial nature of the UK’s infrastructure investment and consider if this reinforces spatial inequality in favour of Greater London over the rest of the country. The report also considers if investment in infrastructure should be taken with a greater focus on the needs of society as a whole, rather than on an individual or population basis.

Lastly, the report investigates if there is a need to adopt greater use of mapping analysis to better demonstrate the distribution of capacities and resources.

Read the report in full by clicking here:


Cecilia Wong is Professor of Spatial Planning at Manchester Urban Institute, and a Fellow of both the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Town Planning Institute. She is Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Research Approvals and Data Acquisition Committees and sits as a Commissioner for UK2070.
Tom Arnold is a Doctoral Researcher at The University of Manchester’s School of Environment, Education and Development, researching transport planning and devolution in the North of England.
Mark Baker is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Manchester Urban Institute and a chartered town planner with previous professional experience at Durham County Council and at the Government Offices for both North East England and North West England.
Dr. Caglar Koksal is a Research Associate and Lecturer in Urban Planning at the University of Manchester, with research interests including critical urban theory; political economy; infrastructure financing and funding; and public policy making.
Dr. Andreas Schulze Bäing is Lecturer in Urban Development at The University of Manchester’s School of Environment, Education and Development with research interests in deprivation patterns and regeneration policies.
Dr Helen Wei Zheng is a Postdoc Research Associate at the Manchester Urban Institute working on the ‘Eco-urbanisation: Promoting Sustainable Development in Metropolitan Regions of China’ project.

Professor Philip McCann publishes Think Piece on Perceptions of Regional Inequality

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In the first of a weekly series of posts, the UK2070 Commission are today publishing the first in a series of Think Pieces submitted to the Commission as part of its recent Call For Evidence, and which the Commission has received permission of the author(s) to publish to a wider audience on our website.

The first of these think pieces is written by Professor Philip McCann, Chair of Urban and Regional Economics at the University of Sheffield Management School, and is entitled Perceptions of Regional Inequality and the Geography of Discontent: Insights from the UK. The paper examines whether the United Kingdom displays high or average levels of interregional inequality, by comparing the UK to 30 other OECD countries across 28 different indicators.

Professor McCann not only concludes that the UK is one of most regionally unbalanced countries in the industrialised world; but also notes that this is something rarely accurately reported, or even understood, by the national media. The report studies online debate about the publication by The Economist on 21st October 2018 of a diagram which sought to show the differences in productivity between UK regions when compared with other countries; a written response to this by the organisation, FullFact; and the tweets of political commentators discussing the accuracy of both reports and their own opinions.

The report also considers the usefulness and interpretation of different measures of inequality; the logic, construction and use of the various OECD regional and urban datasets, and uses both of these to revisit the debate between The Economist and FullFact.

Read the report in full here.

Professor Philip McCann is also the Tagliaferri Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and has been special adviser to two different European Commissioners for Regional and Urban Policy, and to a range of international bodies, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Investment Bank. He sits as a Commissioner for UK2070.

UK2070 Commission opens Call For Evidence after successful launch at House of Lords

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The UK 2070 Commission – an independent inquiry into the UK’s regional inequalities – was today (9 October 2018) launched at a reception in the House of Lords, with Commission chairman Lord Kerslake also opening the Commission’s Call For Evidence with submissions from all interested individuals parties welcome before the deadline of Friday 16 November.

The Commission will examine the nature of inequalities across the regions and nations of the UK, explore the costs and consequences, identify underlying causes, and make recommendations for new policies to tackle the problems of poorer places, whilst supporting the sustainable growth of successful places.

The Commission’s membership includes academics from five universities and the USA’s Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (Cambridge, MA), as well representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, Core Cities, Institute for Public Policy Research North, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the North West Business Leadership Team, West Midlands Combined Authority, and the consultancies AECOM and Barton Willmore.

They will be supported by a research partnership involving the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester, University College London, the University of Liverpool and the University of Cambridge, along with additional support from the Sir Hugh and Lady Sykes Charitable Trust, the Heseltine Institute at the University of Liverpool, the University of Cambridge and the RSA.

“There will always be differences between places, but Britain has some of the most extreme regional disparities in the developed world – these impose great costs on society, and handicap our economic performance and productivity,” said former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake.

“It does not have to be like this – as many other countries demonstrate.”

Professor Alasdair Rae, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and one of the Commissioners, said: “I’m delighted to be involved in the UK 2070 Commission, but not because it draws upon my experience as an urban and regional analyst. Instead, I’m excited by the fact that our Chair, Lord Kerslake, is starting this critically important work by listening to what others have to say about the state of urban and regional inequalities in the UK.”

He added: “Expert commentators often assume that they know what the problems are, and that it’s just the political will to fix them that we’re missing. This may be the case, but it may not, so through the work of the UK 2070 Commission we’re seeking to go beyond tired ideas of ‘north vs south’ or ‘London vs the rest’ to truly understand the nature of the UK’s persistent regional inequalities and what can be done about it.

“It is only by taking a long-term approach that something can be done, and that’s why we’re looking to the long-term with this Commission.”

The Commission will carry out its work over the next 12 months, delivering a final report in January 2020.

“We need strategies for places left behind as much as places with economic potential, in Britain and America alike,” said Armando Carbonell from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, which is also helping to fund the study. “Laissez faire and abandonment is just not an option – the social and political consequences are too damaging, and could put our social cohesion and democratic institutions at risk. We hope to learn much from this inquiry, which will be of relevance to both Britain and to the USA.”

Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Chair of Core Cities, said: “In part the problems are caused by historic factors, but we need to find out whether they are also shaped by government decisions which have not been thought through.

“These may include concentrating resources for growth and development in congested places and generating demands for new infrastructure, whilst putting pressure on the environment.”

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For further information, please visit the FAQs page of our website or contact Philip Brown at uk2070@sheffield.ac.uk

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