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.