Budget 2018: opportunities for local growth

Budget 2018: opportunities for local growth

With the outcome of Brexit negotiations still up in the air, the Government’s scope for a major shift in direction at this autumn’s Budget was limited. Nevertheless, this is a Budget that supports investment and growth, and local growth in particular.

The Chancellor reiterated Government’s commitment to boosting productivity, and to regional and city growth to achieve it. There are new sources of funding at all levels of local government and these sit within the overarching structure of the Industrial Strategy published last year. So although the country’s finances and policies will be ultimately determined by what happens with Brexit – Philip Hammond has reserved the right to upgrade the 2019 Spending Review to a full Budget should no deal with the EU be struck – this Budget offers much of interest to places in the interim.

New Zealand's Inclusive Growth Opportunity

New Zealand's Inclusive Growth Opportunity

By Ben Lucas

New Zealand has a unique opportunity to develop a new model of sustainable inclusive growth that could put very different values at the heart of its economy. The new, Jacinda Ardern led, Labour, New Zealand First and Green Coalition has been in power for a year now. Its ambition was highlighted by the decision of Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First, to act as Ardern’s kingmaker on the grounds that the country was ready for “capitalism with a human face”.

Raising the HRA cap / raising aspirations

Raising the HRA cap / raising aspirations

By Kevin Fenning

Theresa May’s recent announcement of the end of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) borrowing cap has received a very warm welcome across the local government sector. Since the changes to the HRA system in 2012, the chorus of voices demanding either an increase in the HRA cap, or its abolition entirely, have become louder and louder as the cap has become an increasing barrier to local government getting housing delivered. 

A rare and precious unity: Reflections on the first Convention of the North

A rare and precious unity: Reflections on the first Convention of the North

By Daniel Timms

To those following the news, summer 2018 has seen something of a break in tradition. The ‘silly season’, with its round of eye-rolling headlines, has been rather more serious than before. Debate has raged about grave questions of national importance, and there is much brooding about what the future holds.

Against this backdrop, the Great Exhibition of the North, hosted by Newcastle and Gateshead and coming to an end this week, has been a ray of light. The exhibition, featuring innovation, science, culture, and art from right across the North, has vividly displayed an extraordinary depth of creativity and innovation. Across the UK, many have heeded the call to #GetNorth and enjoy the exhibitions and events. Where better, then, for the first Convention of the North? The symbolism – that the North is an innovative region with huge potential – could not be clearer.

Linking cranes with communities - West Midlands Combined Authority launches Inclusive Growth Unit

Linking cranes with communities - West Midlands Combined Authority launches Inclusive Growth Unit

A pioneering new unit to ensure everyone in the region benefits from the work of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has been established.

The Inclusive Growth Unit is a ground-breaking collaboration between the WMCA and a range of organisations to ensure policy and decision-making tackles issues such as poverty and unemployment.

They include Public Health England, the Barrow Cadbury Trust, and a range of national and regional bodies focused on social change and economic inclusion.

Corporate Value: How UK cities can show business what they’re worth

Corporate Value: How UK cities can show business what they’re worth

By Daniel Timms

What brings businesses to particular cities? And what can cities do to attract high-value companies?

These questions are uppermost in the mind of US mayors from Atlanta to Washington right now, as the battle to host Amazon’s second headquarters intensifies across the Atlantic. The effect on Seattle of Amazon’s presence has been dramatic (not only to the good), and the huge shot in the arm it would offer the lucky winner is absorbing all focus in municipal governments. This has led to frenzied media speculation about who will be picked, and how much they will need to offer in the way of incentives.

Five key aspects for measuring inclusive growth

By José Reis

There is no doubt that local areas are paying increased attention to inclusive growth. Metro Dynamics recently launched an Inclusive Growth Toolkit to help places assess the inclusive growth outcomes of interventions or investments. The number of positive responses received from across the country is testament to the fact that places are taking inclusive growth seriously, and are set on developing adequate responses to the issues faced in their area. A number of places have even created senior positions dedicated to inclusive growth, such as a West Midlands ‘Lead Economist for Inclusive Growth and Public Services’ or a ‘Director of Inclusive Growth’ in Barking and Dagenham.

Metro Dynamics supporting Local Industrial Strategies

With the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy late last year, there is now a clear impetus for LEPs and CAs to develop robust Local Economic Strategies for their areas. Metro Dynamics are currently working with places around the country to develop clear Industrial Strategies that support local sectoral growth. Compared to SEPs, Local Industrial Strategies must:

  • Be based on granular evidence about specific employment sectors, and the barriers to and opportunities for growth.
  • Develop convincing local deals based on clear investible propositions around physical and sectoral development.
  • Demonstrate clear governance and delivery mechanisms to ensure that programmes can be advanced swiftly.

More detail on our work on Local Industrial Strategies can be found here.