As members of the Inclusive Growth Network, we are committed to spreading economic opportunity and prosperity to all our people and places. We are delivering innovative practical solutions to reduce inequalities and create strong local economies that everyone can contribute to and benefit from.
The local and combined authorities we represent up and down the UK are preparing to meet with a tidal wave of need this winter. Sharply rising energy prices are set to have a drastic impact on our residents’ living standards. Real incomes are already falling and, as inflation is expected to rise to over 13%, the imminent recession poses a severe threat to our ambitions to deliver more inclusive local economies.
The Covid-19 pandemic showed that it is not possible to combat a crisis of such magnitude from traditional top-down, central government siloes. This is why IGN leaders have not only focused our efforts on developing collaborative approaches to supporting communities as the crisis intensifies, but also on using the policy, investment and convening powers at our disposal to strengthen our local economies for the long term.
We will continue to draw on every means we have to help people get through this crisis and build for the future. But we cannot do this alone. We call on the new Prime Minister to address the cost-of-living crisis with the urgency and gravity it demands.
We also urge the government to adopt inclusive growth as a long-term national economic strategy. For growth to recover from this crisis and be sustainable, we will need to reverse the inequalities – in education, health, wealth and income – that have long held back UK productivity. We know from experience that making sure that economic growth is inclusive is the only way the levelling up agenda, on which this government was elected, can withstand the political and economic turbulence ahead.
Political leaders of the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN):
Cllr Christina Black, Lord Mayor, Belfast City Council
Mayor Marvin Rees, Bristol City Council
Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council
Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council
Mayor Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Cllr James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council
Mayor Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Council
Cllr Marie Burns, Leader of North Ayrshire Council
Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Combined Authority
Mayor Oliver Coppard, South Yorkshire Combined Authority
Examples of inclusive growth in action:
(1) Creative data collection and analysis to understand how the crisis is affecting our communities and how best to target our response:
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Cost of Living dashboard, which provides insight and evidence into the rising cost of living as it evolves and is being used as the basis of planning and coordinating support across all ten local authorities in the region.
- South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) are using a range of economic evidence to inform their position and to focus interventions and funding. This includes data and research on income levels, debt, financial services and more systemic understanding into household vulnerability to the cost-of-living crisis. It is not just households that will face challenging impacts form the cost-of-living crisis. SYMCA are drawing upon local business surveys and carbon intensity models to understand how businesses will be impacted by inflationary and energy price pressures.
- The Glasgow City Region has set up an Intelligence Hub to ensure a rigorous evidence base underpins all economic policy development, programme selection and delivery. The team has captured a variety of existing and new datasets, including using mobile phone and banking data, to better understand and promote economic inclusion.
- Leeds City Council has developed a Social Progress Index for the city, based on the international model developed by Social Progress Imperative. The Index uses a range of local data to provide a comprehensive measure of real quality of life for residents across different areas of the city, independent of economic measures such as GDP. This allows the council and its partners to understand the city’s progress against indicators that underpin thriving societies, and to identify issues that need collaborative responses across disciplines and sectors.
(2) Embedding cultures of collaboration to be more than the sum of our parts:
- London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s Cost of Living Alliance, a VCSE sector and council-led network established to coordinate the borough’s response to the cost-of-living crisis as well as embed a shared response to the longer-term challenge of helping people out of debt crisis.
- Bristol City Council’s One City Approach, a new model of collaborative civic leadership, which brings together cross-sector partners under a new governance structure, enabling a joined-up response both to crisis measures and long-term city planning.
- North Ayrshire Council has established a ‘Tackling Child Poverty Board’ to bring about a step change in how, collaboratively, the Council and its partners tackles the root causes of child poverty and makes the best use of resources and economic levers to help people to achieve financial independence and live their lives free from poverty. The work of the Board will be informed by the Scottish Government’s Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.
(3) Improving access to good quality local jobs and working with businesses to increase long term economic resilience:
- The Cardiff Commitment, driven by Cardiff City Council, is a collaborative initiative driven by a coalition of city partners with a shared vision to build aspiration and connect children and young people to career opportunities available to them across Cardiff’s key growth sectors.
- Belfast City Council’s programme of Employment Academies aims to increase access to good work by addressing barriers and supporting industry relevant skills in key sectors with high vacancies. designed in partnership with sectoral bodies and employers across the city, the programme responds to the needs of industry by working with providers to match the training and support entry into real job opportunities.
- The North of Tyne Combined Authority’s employment charter, The Good Work Pledge, is driving forward the Good Work agenda and eradicating precarious and low-paid employment. Developed in collaboration with the trade unions and local businesses, sixty-five local employers across the public and private sectors, representing 46,000 employees, have now signed up. Accreditation depends upon meeting standards including being a Real Living Wage employer, investing in training and progression for employees, and having a TU recognition agreement in place.
- The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Households into Work programme supports people who have difficulty finding and sustaining employment, having so far delivered life-changing support to more than 2,700 people. To ensure residents can continue to their journey to permanent employment during the cost-of-living crisis, the CA recently stepped in to provide £2m in funding to sustain the programme through its 15-month funding gap, while it waits for the government’s new UK Shared Prosperity Fund to begin.
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