First anniversary of the Inclusive Growth Network

1 October 2021

By Annabel Smith

3 minute read

Being a part of the inclusive growth network has been really helpful – really important for us as we connect with other people to draw on their expertise and their experience on tackling how we deliver inclusive growth. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it so we must collaborate.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

The past year has not been without its profound challenges for local leaders across the UK, as they have had to navigate the storms of health and economic implications of the pandemic, which have served to compound deep inequalities that have long held back productivity and prosperity across many of our communities. At the same time, it is these local leaders up and down the country who are driving the way in delivering innovative solutions to two of the most unprecedented issues of our time: those of growing economic inequality and climate change. This year’s recent annual summit of the Inclusive Growth Network (IGN) provided a crucial platform for the network’s political representatives to hone in on the ways in which they are reconciling these twin priorities in their places in practice and learn from others’ approaches.

In the run up to COP26 in IGN member place Glasgow, leaders heard from Cllr Susan Aitkin, Leader of Glasgow City Council, who called this year’s COP summit “the COP of cities and municipalities” noting that “it is cities and municipalities in the UK and across the world who are ahead of the game on demonstrating how to implement the practical actions not only to deliver net zero, but to deliver a just transition to net zero” highlighting the fact that a just transition is not just about the oil and gas industries, but is multi-layered and requires building sustainability into all jobs across our economy. This was echoed across the network’s political leadership.

The IGN is built for collaboration between peers who are committed to resilient, inclusive local economies. At a time when cross-place collaboration has never been more crucial, in its first year its 12 member places and partners from across the UK have joined together to tackle regional economies across a broad range of policy areas: from health inequalities to skills, and from procurement and social value to employment support. It has supported its members through tailored implementation advice, peer to peer workshops, training from national and international experts, and research on shared priorities. Importantly, the network has also given its members access to practical guidance on how to meaningfully engage citizens and communities in policymaking as places have looked to use their recovery strategies as an opportunity to develop new economic paradigms that work better for all.

The need for collaboration grounded in place for driving forward an inclusive, green and strong economy has never been more evident. The IGN will support its members as they work to deliver real, practical progress in a way that leaves nobody behind.

If you would like to hear more about the work of the IGN or discuss potential opportunities for collaboration with the network, please get in touch with us.