A joint statement by the mayors and political leaders representing the Inclusive Growth Network

8 November 2021

  • As members of the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN), we share a commitment to promoting economic growth that all of our residents and communities can benefit from and contribute to. We believe that place-based approaches are at the heart of driving shared prosperity and our 12 member places are pioneering new ways to create inclusive local economies across the UK.
  • Fostering inclusive growth means tackling deep education, health, wealth and income inequalities that hold back people and communities and undermine the productivity potential of our regions and nations. This challenge has been made more difficult by Covid-19 and is compounded by other new and growing risks – none more impactful than climate change.
  • Decarbonising the global economy is one of the most significant challenges of our time. But while the world looks to the UK as hosts of COP26 and the first country to pass legislation to reach net zero emissions by 2050, the day-to-day leadership and delivery of the climate agenda is local. It is our proximity to and understanding of our communities that makes local leadership vital to the success of delivering on the government’s net zero targets.
  • We have set our own ambitious targets for reaching net zero and are at the forefront of accelerating the pace of delivery on the ground. In doing so, we share a determination to ensure that the green industrial revolution serves as a catalyst for making our local economies fairer and more inclusive. This is why the just in ‘just transition’ must be a core guiding principle for all policymakers, with the costs and challenges of the transition not falling disproportionately on the citizens least able to burden them.
  • As the political leaders of the Inclusive Growth Network, we are today making a shared commitment to using the levers available to us to ensure the burdens and benefits of building a net zero society are allocated fairly across all our communities. We are prepared to stand forward and be responsible for the delivery of our net zero targets in a way that is just for all and puts fairness and inclusion at the heart of our approach.

Our commitments

Today we commit to building back places fairer and greener – tackling longstanding social and economic inequalities whilst meeting new challenges on the horizon by focusing on:

  • Quality Jobs and Skills:

One in five jobs across the country are likely to be affected by the green transition1. We will use the local levers at our disposal to ensure all communities benefit from opportunities to upskill into new green jobs being created, so that the negative impact on certain jobs and sectors does not fall disproportionately on the most economically vulnerable.

Commitment 1: We commit to using local skills infrastructure (e.g., skills advisory panels where relevant) to identify those at risk of unemployment; supporting the development of local supply chains and working with national government to recognise the unique position of those affected in the labour market and determine how best they can be supported. Where feasible, we will use local funding streams to support this skills transition, as we see through IGN member, North Ayrshire’s £500,000 Green Jobs Fund.

Commitment 2: We will work to ensure that new green jobs created are high quality and secure – building on our close relationships with employers and measures and drawing on tools such as good employment charters and emerging net zero pledges, as we see applied by IGN member West Midlands Combined Authority, to help create high standard green jobs. We recognise that jobs across a wide range of sectors will need to adapt if we are to hit our net zero targets and stand ready to support and guide our employers on a cross-sector basis.

  • Local and Regional Engagement:

The public sector acting in isolation cannot achieve what we need to. A just transition will depend on everyone in our places working together – including business, private sector investors, civil society and communities themselves.

Commitment 3: As regional and local leaders, we will leverage the relationships we have built with business, civil society, and anchor institutions, enabling every sector to play their part in meeting a shared vision for clean, inclusive growth. For example, IGN member Bristol City Council is collaborating with local community anchor organisations to coproduce community Climate Action Plans, drawing on funding from Big Lottery’s Climate Action Fund.

Commitment 4: We also stand forward to offer citizens the guidance, direction and support they need to navigate the transition successfully. For example, the North of Tyne Combined Authority, IGN member, made funding available to deliver a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change to ensure citizens are directly part of the decisions on a local, just transition.

  • Strengthening our Place & Communities

As leaders, we embrace creative placemaking as a tool to strengthen communities and build green, inclusive economies. Using regional and local investment and regulatory levers available to us, including planning, urban design, transport, renewable energy generation, agricultural and food sustainability, tree planting for carbon absorption, and tackling the impact of derelict land, we commit to imagining and designing our places in a way that makes net zero behaviours more practical and attractive to all of our citizens, not just those with financial means.

Commitment 5: We stand ready to play a central role in driving the switch to green energy and retrofitting on a street-by-street and home-by-home basis. We will work with national government to prioritise citizens who are experiencing fuel poverty, and that energy efficiency measures help to increase economic resilience for our most vulnerable communities. To achieve this, IGN member Greater Manchester has set up a Retrofit Task Force which aims to ensure that those residents who are in vulnerable circumstances move to net zero sustainable heating by developing a local plan and bringing together key partners and financing streams. Meanwhile, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham’s Cosy Homes scheme was named in September as the best large-scale project of the year for the London region of the Energy Efficiency Awards. The scheme offers residents free home improvements to stay warm, save energy and lower bills.

As regional and local leaders we are standing forward together to play our vital role in ensuring that nobody is left behind in the transition to a net zero economy.

The political leaders of the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN)

  • Cllr Mal O’Hara, Belfast City Council
  • Mayor Marvin Rees, Bristol City Council
  • Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader Cardiff City Council
  • Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader Glasgow City Council
  • Mayor Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Cllr James Lewis, Leader Leeds City Council, the statement has also been endorsed by Mayor Tracy Brabin, West Yorkshire Combined Authority (comprising IGN member Leeds City Council)
  • Mayor Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
  • Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Council
  • Cllr Joe Cullinane, Leader North Ayrshire Council
  • Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • Mayor Dan Jarvis, South Yorkshire Combined Authority
  • Mayor Andy Street, West Midlands Combined Authority

Notes

[1] Grantham Institute. Green economy: how the transition to net zero could affect UK jobs across the country. London School of Economics & Political Science, 5 March 2021.