If you would like to contact us about our work, please email: uk2070@sheffield.ac.uk

First Report of the UK2070 Commission published

By | News | No Comments

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 has shown an interest in attending the UK2070 National Symposium in Leeds – unfortunately both the main attendee list and the reserve list have now SOLD OUT. 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

By | News | No Comments

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in attending the UK2070 National Symposium in Leeds – unfortunately both the main attendee list and the reserve list have now SOLD OUT. 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.

Thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in attending the UK2070 National Symposium in Leeds – unfortunately both the main attendee list and the reserve list have now SOLD OUT. 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

By | Speech | No Comments

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

By | Events | No Comments

·       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

By | Blogpost | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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’.

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | Think Piece | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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 for 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 for 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.”

~

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

Contact

If you would like to contact us about our work, please email: uk2070@sheffield.ac.uk, or get in touch through Twitter @UK_2070.