Press Release: CPP launches network to support local leaders drive forward inclusive economic recovery

  • The Inclusive Growth Network will focus on reducing inequalities, alleviating poverty and improving productivity in communities across the UK
  • 12 members from across the UK and include Greater Manchester Combined Authority, West Midlands Combined Authority, Glasgow City Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

17 September 2020

The Centre for Progressive Policy has today launched the Inclusive Growth Network, a new initiative funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and supported by the Royal Society of Arts (the RSA) and Metro Dynamics. The network brings together twelve councils and combined authorities leading the drive for an inclusive economic recovery across the UK.

With the coronavirus crisis exacerbating long-standing regional imbalances, the network is set to act as an incubator to develop, deliver and test new ideas about how local leaders can reduce inequalities, alleviate poverty and improve productivity in their communities, during the Covid-19 crisis and thereafter.

The network will provide members with access to a package of peer-to-peer and tailored support (including research and implementation advice) to help address individual challenges and opportunities. Leaders will be able to draw on examples of successful interventions from across the UK to understand those areas where local policy can deliver the best outcomes, from the delivery of good jobs to green growth and healthy communities.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the already existing inconsistencies in equality across the UK. Getting the economy back on track is essential, but we simply cannot go back to the old way of doing things.

A national one size fits all blanket approach does not work when tackling economic issues, we need to find new ways to address social inequalities at a local level which will last far beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is why local leaders need to join forces and support each other through the help of the Inclusive Growth Network, ensuring we build back better in a way that takes account of everyone.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:

“It’s vital that we make sure every single resident of the West Midlands has the chance to benefit from economic growth. None more so than now.

So here in the West Midlands we are working to ensure that all of our residents and communities benefit from the work we are doing to recover from the impact Covid-19 has had on our economy. From our homes policy which links affordability to incomes rather than market rates, to our adoption of the Real Living Wage, and to work we are doing on regeneration across the region.

That’s why I am delighted that the West Midlands Combined Authority has joined the new Inclusive Growth Network hosted by the Centre for Progressive Policy.

Covid-19 has had distinctive impacts on regions across the UK and we look forward to working with other areas to help drive our recovery ambitions and the levelling up of regions across the UK. This is not just about economic growth, it's about growth that creates a fair society with opportunities for everyone.”

Director of the Centre for Progressive Policy, Charlotte Alldritt, said:

“Inequality in the UK has been growing for decades but the case for inclusive growth has never been stronger than it is today. The public health and economic emergency has intensified regional discrepancies, put added pressure on local government finances and public services, and exposed the weaknesses of our overly centralised policymaking processes.

National policies are simply too blunt an instrument to tackle complex economic and social challenges alone. Our recovery needs to be guided by local leaders, who best understand the issues facing their communities, whether those are job losses, skills shortages or problems accessing health and social care.

The first of its kind, the Inclusive Growth Network will help leaders to work together, share ideas and showcase the brightest solutions to the most pressing challenges, so that everyone can contribute to and benefit from economic recovery and growth.”

Acting Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Helen Barnard, said:

“This year has shown us that even if we are in the same boat, not everyone is equally able to weather the economic storms we are faced with. The impacts of Covid have fallen most heavily on those who were already struggling to stay afloat, and local economies that had already fallen behind. As we look towards recovery it is essential that existing poverty does not become more entrenched and local areas can rebuild their local economy to work for everyone. Local leadership can ensure that the response is tailored effectively to the specific needs of people in different parts of the country.

“This network will support local and combined authorities to share knowledge about what works and try out new ways of strengthening their local economies. By implementing new approaches and learning from each other, leaders can prevent the worst economic effects of the pandemic from hitting those who are least able to weather the storm and remodel their local economy to boost living standards and productivity.”

Inclusive Growth Network member areas include:

  • Belfast City Council
  • Bristol City Council
  • Cardiff Council
  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
  • Glasgow City Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • Sheffield City Region Combined Authority
  • West Midlands Combined Authority

Further information on the IGN can be found @IGN_tweets.


Notes to the Editor

About CPP: The Centre for Progressive Policy is a think tank committed to making inclusive economic growth a reality. By working with national and local partners, our aim is to devise effective, pragmatic policy solutions to drive productivity and shared prosperity in the UK. Inclusive growth is one of the most urgent questions facing advanced economies where stagnant real wages are squeezing living standards and wealth is increasingly concentrated. CPP believes that a new approach to growth is needed, harnessing the best of central and local government to shape the national economic environment and build on the assets and opportunities of place. The Centre for Progressive Policy is fully funded by Lord David Sainsbury, as part of his work on public policy.

For more information on the Centre for Progressive Policy, please see or follow @CentreProPolicy and @IGN_tweets

For media requests contact Clara Rees Jones at Atlas Partners, or 07761 514 664

Additional quotes from the IGN members

Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Christina Black, said:

“I am delighted that Belfast City Council has become a member of the Inclusive Growth Network and will now benefit from accessing its in-depth research, practical advice and bespoke support.

 We look forward to working closely with other members of the network to help advance our own inclusive growth agenda, including priorities such as the development of an Inclusive Growth City Charter for Belfast developed in partnership with our employers. Given the unfolding Covid-19 crisis and its impact on the economy, we see the charter as our collective commitment to an inclusive recovery that will help create a stronger, more resilient economy and a fairer society in the future.”

Leader of London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said:

“We are really proud to be one of 12 local authorities to be invited to participate in the network. This is further confirmation that we are not only London’s growth opportunity, but that we are at the forefront of driving growth not just for our borough but across London.

As we begin the journey to recovery, we are determined more than ever in Barking and Dagenham that no one will be left behind as we continue to work closely with and support local businesses and our residents to grow our borough.”

Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Huw Thomas, said:

“It is true now, more than ever, that we need to meet our challenges collectively as places. As our economies emerge from the impact of COVID-19 it is essential that we recover in a way that benefits everyone, and not replicate the lost decade of the low wage recovery felt by communities in the wake of the financial crisis.

Being part of the Inclusive Growth Network means that we can work together to tackle these issues, working smarter by learning from each other. There is no first mover advantage nor benefit from acting alone in tackling inclusive growth, and through the Inclusive Growth Network we fully intend on delivering a better more inclusive economy for the people of Cardiff as well as our partners in the network.”

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotherham, said:

“The Coronavirus crisis has not only brought possibly the greatest public health challenge in a generation, it’s also posed questions about how we want to re set our economy and build back better to recovery.

I want the Liverpool City Region to be the most inclusive, fair and socially just economy in the country. The Inclusive Growth Network will provide a forum to look at how devolution can improve our economy, make decision making closer and more effective and ensure growth works for a truly people focused recovery.

I look forward to playing a full part working with the network to take these important ideas forward.”

Leader of North Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building, Councillor Joe Cullinane, said:

“We are delighted to be involved in the Inclusive Growth Network convened by our partners at the Centre for Progressive Policy and hope that by working in partnership with other regions across the UK we can promote a systems change to reduce the stark levels of inequality that exist across society.

 North Ayrshire is at the forefront of delivering inclusive economic approaches in Scotland and we have shown real economic leadership with the launch of our Community Wealth Building strategy earlier this year – the first of its kind in Scotland -  which sets out a new economic model focused on inclusion and wellbeing. We have recently launched a Green New Deal for North Ayrshire that outlines how we will build back our local economy better, fairer and greener.

We are committed to playing our part in this Network to ensure economic, social and environmental justice for our communities.”

North of Tyne Cabinet member for Employability and Inclusion and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Joyce McCarty, said:

"Creating a more inclusive and active economy for the North of Tyne is at the heart of our economic vision.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only strengthened the need to address inequalities in our area and work towards a recovery plan that benefits all our residents.

In the first 18 months, the North of Tyne Combined Authority has taken great steps forward in our pursuit of our inclusive growth ambitions, and it is important that this progress has been recognised through our involvement in the Inclusive Growth Network. It shows that our approach will benefit all our residents and communities which is vitally important as we emerge and recover from the pandemic.

We are thrilled to support the Inclusive Growth Network in what is such an exciting and important opportunity to share best practice, learn from others and to collaborate on a national scale.

The Network will only add value to our local efforts and help make the North of Tyne the home of ambition."

Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said:

“Economic growth means little if it flows largely to those already best off, and reinforces the already serious inequalities our country faces. We have to understand that the challenge is not just about creating a bigger economy, it is about creating a fairer and a more sustainable one.  

We need to move away from a model which has failed to reflect our values, our aspirations, or the needs of a healthy planet. 

We need to imagine the sort of society we want, and we need the take the responsibility for building it. The IGN is a step along this path. As we develop our own strategy for inclusive growth in South Yorkshire, it will help us make better policy, move faster, and ultimately do more to help our communities. I hope it will do the same for the whole of the UK.”

Managing Director of Metro Dynamics, Ben Lucas, said:

“Inclusive growth has never been more important. In the midst of a health pandemic and economic crisis, everyone now seems to agree that we should Build Back Better. The thing is to actually do it. This is about practice and delivery, not just strategy and policy. That’s why we are so delighted to be a partner in IGN, where the focus will be on working with places to develop inclusive growth in practice”

RSA’s Director of Economy, Asheem Singh, said:

“We at the RSA are delighted that our 2017 Inclusive Growth Commission, chaired by Stephanie Flanders, has helped birth the Inclusive Growth Network, an innovative community of councils working on the ground to marry economic development with social justice. We face epochal economic and social challenges; this initiative will light a trail that shows how we best work together to take them on.”