Growing productivity and tackling inequality are key
A new study by the CBI, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, has analysed the comparative economic health of each of the country’s regions, assessing their strength in key criteria around business activity, education, employment, connectivity and social outcomes.
The scorecards – part of the organisation’s wider Reviving Regions work – are published today (Monday), and highlight key successes, as well as the challenges which must be overcome to revive regional economies in the wake of Covid-19.
For many regions, increasing productivity is a clear priority. CBI metrics show huge variance in regional outputs, resulting in deep social inequalities, stagnant economic performance and stunted opportunity. Many of these factors have been exacerbated over the past year by the pandemic and resulting restrictions.
The data has enabled the CBI to draw up bespoke recommendations for each region which aim to enable a swift recovery and lay the foundations for sustainable future prosperity.
These recommendations call for leaders in business and government – at all levels, including newly-elected metro mayors – to work together on regional growth priorities identified in the Reviving Regions project. These include creating vibrant local labour markets, improving physical and digital infrastructure, and attracting innovative, world-class businesses to invest across the UK.
Matthew Fell, CBI chief of UK policy, said: “Economic disparities across England are sadly nothing new, but inequalities have deepened during the pandemic, and action to address the issue is now more urgent than ever.
“Building back quickly and effectively is essential, but a recovery driven only by limited pockets of productivity is far from a real recovery, and hardly the basis for a brighter future. It is therefore essential to target a recovery which ensures future prosperity reaches all corners of the country.
“Every region has strong sectors and clusters of excellence around which it can rebuild. To do that, they must have access to appropriate infrastructure, a pipeline of talent and a culture of growth and investment.
“Government and business must therefore work together to make the necessary long-term investment in the critical structures, training, and innovation needed to support jobs and quality of life around the UK. This long-overdue levelling-up can lay the foundation for a better, greener and fairer economy for all.”
Jo Harris, one of Lloyds Banking Group’s 10 ambassadors for the regions and nations, said: “These scorecards are an incredibly useful tool for helping all of us who want to help our regions recover from the effects of the pandemic tackle the tough challenges which lie ahead. They set out where the strengths and weaknesses lie and provide a route towards addressing the specific issues as they affect each part of the country. They also shine a light on the differences within regions as well as between them, which is important in helping to drill down to where most work needs to be done.
“Most importantly of all though, they clearly demonstrate the need for everyone, private as well as public sector, to work with their communities and help them grow their way from crisis to recovery and we at Lloyds Banking Group stand ready to play our part.”