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UK2070 Commission

UK2070 Commissions Welcomes Publication Levelling Up White Paper

By | News, Uncategorized

Press Release : 02.02.2022

UK2070 Commission welcomes the publication of the Government’s plan for levelling up across the whole of the UK.

Lord Kerslake, chair, UK2070 Commission said:

“We welcome the Governments publication of Levelling Up White Paper today. The inequalities in economic performance and social conditions across the UK identified by the UK2070 Commission are now accepted by all parties. The momentum for change must however be built up and accelerated from these initial steps since there is no quick fix to the UK’s spatial disparities, which have continued to widen in recent years.

There needs to be a strong focus on meaningful devolution, giving local authorities and mayors across the country a greater say over the way their regions function,  and providing local solutions to the problems to levelling up. Whitehall deciding on the criteria and who receives funding just won’t work – hopefully today we begin to embrace that change.”

“Much more investment will be needed than is currently envisaged by the Government. This will need to be sustained over a long period of time. Without this, the ambitions of the White Paper are unlikely to be realised. Rebalancing the UK will bring enormous economic and social benefits that will more than justify the higher investment”.

The scale of analysis and the width issues addressed, ranging from creating global centres of excellence and closing the skills-gap, demonstrate the seriousness of the government’s intent. This is marked contrast from the fragmented deal-based policy approach which has frustrated past efforts to deliver change.

It is therefore hoped that this Levelling Up will allow a sustained approach across government election cycles.

The new delivery vehicles should help make government fit for purpose. The proposed strengthening of national leadership as well as further devolution is a recognition of the need to empower of local communities to take strategic action on infrastructure, skills and health. The proposed metrics should also allow action to be better planned, success can be measured and government held to account.

Therefore, the UK2070 Commission will be seeking to engage with the government and work with it to promote, develop and maintain the focus on transforming the social conditions and economic performance of the UK. We will be producing a detailed analysis and critique of the White paper drawing on the expertise in the Commission.

For further information Please visit www.uk2070.org.uk

Social media @uk_2070

Email UK2070Commission@turntown.com

 

UK2070 New Year Message from the Chair, Lord Kerslake

By | News

This time last year we were hoping that by now we would have seen the worst of the pandemic. However, a year on we are still coping with the fear of another wave of illness, prolonged social restrictions and great economic uncertainty.

The UK2070 Commission’s assessment on the impact of pandemic highlights three major concerns.

Firstly, the pandemic has laid bare the deep social inequalities in the UK that were described in our report ‘Make No Little Plans’. This has been so clearly demonstrated by the growth in foodbanks and the public debate about the loss of £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit that went to the poorest in our society.

Secondly, these inequalities have been deepened. This is not only reflected in take home pay [i] but also wealth. Whilst total UK wealth had increased during the course of the pandemic, the poorest households were more likely to have run down rather than increase their savings and not share in the house price boom.[ii]

And thirdly, the need for action has been made more urgent. Action is needed now to rebalance the economy. The Prime Minister had recognised this in his speech six months ago setting out his commitment to levelling up, but we still await the White Paper he promised.

We are looking to this to unleash action at scale that will unlock the economic potential not only of our great cities, like Liverpool and Bristol but also places such as Blackpool and Weston-Super-Mare. This needs to be at a scale to rebuild the social infrastructure of the UK to level up social conditions in terms of health, education and culture. This also needs to be aligned with comparable effort in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast – that is across the whole of the UK.

The promised White Paper is therefore now urgently required and it must be more than a repackaging of old policies, a re-presenting of existing budget commitments or a reinforcing of Whitehall powers. It must enable fresh thinking and ideas, enhance resources for action and empower local leaders.

The work of the UK2070 Commission is now even more important. The rebalancing the UK socially and economically must be a national goal. The problems are now recognised and as the Prime Minister has stated these social inequalities are a national ‘disgrace’.[iii] Action must be taken now to transform rhetoric into action through a long term, forward – looking agenda to shape the future of the UK.

Responsibility lies not just with the government for action. It also lies with local leaders, arms length bodies, NGOs and communities. Government, local leaders and all parties need to sign up to a Shared Declaration of Intent for building a fairer, stronger and more sustainable future for all in the UK and to start now with urgency to implement the programme of action.

[i] Wages in the North were lower than the rest of England before the pandemic and these fell further during the COVID-19 pandemic (from £543.90 to £541.30 per week) whereas wages increased in the rest of the country (from £600.80 to £604.00 per week).

[ii] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/12/uk-wealth-gap-widens-in-pandemic-as-richest-get-50000-windfall

[iii] it is an outrage that a man in Glasgow or Blackpool has an average of ten years less on this planet than someone growing up in Hart in Hampshire or in Rutland Source July 2021 speech

 

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

By | News

Further helping realise the future potential of the Tees Valley

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission, said:

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

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

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

 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Teesside University welcomes UK2070 Commission taskforce to tackle regional inequality

By | News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Editors Notes:

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

Background

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

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

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

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

Media contacts:

Gary Martin:

Communications Manager, Teesside University, 07557 082 810.

Michael S Henson:

Turner & Townsend, 07514 738044

 

Statement: Lord Kerslake, Chair of the UK2070 Commission

By | News

Levelling Up: Meeting the Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Lord Kerslake
Chair, UK2070 Commission