Taking the nation's pulse on inclusive growth

New CPP survey reveals pessimism about the future of local economies and underlines the importance of fair inclusive growth.

26 November 2022

By Ben Franklin

3 minute read

A new CPP survey reveals the depths of the nation’s pessimism about the future of local economies and underlines the importance of doubling down on fair inclusive growth.

No evidence levelling up has delivered

• 59% expect economic conditions in their local areas to deteriorate over the next 5 years rising to 70% in Yorkshire and Humber and the North East

• 68% of people living in predominantly former industrial areas say they expect local economic conditions to worsen.

• People in the North East (63%), Yorkshire and Humber (60%) and Scotland (58%) are particularly dissatisfied with the amount of spending on infrastructure to encourage growth (compared to 47% for the UK).

• 50% of people in the North East think their local area offers good economic opportunities to a few people or nobody (compared to 33% across the UK).

People expect rising inequality between and across generations

• Around half (49%) of those surveyed think their local areas will become less equal over the next 5 years in terms of access to economic opportunity compared to just 11% who think it will become more equal.

• 79% of people are not confident that their local areas will meet the needs of young people in terms of being able to find a good job and somewhere to live (away from their parents’ home) over the next few years.

People want investment in their areas to solve fundamental long-standing problems

When asked what changes would make the biggest improvement to their local economy over the next 5 years, the most common responses were more affordable housing, more investment in high streets, better wages for workers and better quality public health and healthcare. But there are substantial regional differences:

  • 29% of people in the North and 31% of people in the Midlands prioritise better wages for workers (by comparison to 20% of people in the South and 25% of people in the UK as a whole).
  • Yorkshire and Humber (23%), South West (24%) and East of England (23%) are more likely to prioritise transport (compared with 17% across the UK).
  • Those in the South are more likely to prioritise affordable housing (30%), rising to 45% in “Cosmopolitan London”, compared to 26% across the UK as a whole and 17% in the Midlands.

With the pandemic and now cost of living crisis revealing the fragile nature of local economies, a credible yet hopeful vision for the UK’s economic future is needed. Public and private investment in places to support inclusive, fair growth, must form the centrepiece of any governments’ economic agenda to turn the tide.