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 (plus one) 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.

Metro Dynamics launch Inclusive Growth Toolkit

Metro Dynamics has recently developed an Inclusive Growth Toolkit to help places make informed investment decisions. This is an important step towards allowing places to assess the inclusive growth outcomes of interventions or investments, placing inclusivity at the heart of decision-making. The work is an open source contribution freely available to view and use.

Inclusive Growth is becoming an increasingly important issue in the UK. There has been a growing feeling in the country that economic growth does not benefit all places or groups equally. We believe that if future economic growth is to become more inclusive, robust and logical thinking is required.

As the new Mayoral Combined Authorities take control of new investment funds, and further spending is devolved, areas have more control over how money is spent locally. This is a real opportunity to change places for the better. However, if outcomes from spending are to improve, places need new tools to allow them to assess the potential of interventions and investments to foster Inclusive Growth.

Metro mayors have key role in health and wealth

By Ben Lucas and Duncan Selbie

This article originally appeared in the Municipal Journal.

Metro mayors now cover 20% of the English population and they are changing the governance and policy landscape.

That is why we have teamed up to set out the opportunity that devolution has opened up to integrate health and wellbeing into an inclusive growth agenda.

Improving people’s health and promoting economic growth may not traditionally have been seen to have much in common.

But health and wealth are flip sides of the same coin.

Developing national and local understanding of the connection between better health and the potential for productivity growth is a key priority for Public Health England (PHE).

Health and Wealth: The Inclusive Growth Opportunity for Mayoral Combined Authorities

Metro Dynamics were commissioned by Public Health England to produce a report on the relationship between health and wealth and the opportunity that devolution presents to promote prevention and early intervention across the life course.

The report argues that improving people's health and wellbeing is fundamentally about creating prosperous local economies that benefit everyone. Health and wellbeing are not only impacted by the quality of NHS care and health-related behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and exercise, but also by other factors, such as one's childhood or whether one lives in high quality housing in an area which has good air quality, encourages social contacts and encourages outdoor activity.

What does the Industrial Strategy mean for places?

Building the foundations

From late 2012 to early 2015, the Coalition Government released a series of Industrial Strategies covering 11 sectors. Whilst they contained some important analysis and some sensible proposals, they felt decidedly low-key – as though the Government at the time were still a little afraid of the stigma of being seen to ‘pick winners’. They were also very much national strategies. Places were mainly acknowledged insofar as they were the site for existing assets or future investments.

The publication of the Industrial Strategy yesterday was very different. The message was that Government - and local governments and LEPs – have a key role to play in supporting the development and growth of new industries and addressing the challenges the UK faces in the 21st Century. In concentrating on five ‘foundations’, the Industrial Strategy has articulated the key elements needed to drive economic growth and has set out to address each of these.

Taking stock of the Autumn Budget 2017

Yesterday’s Budget comes at a challenging time for the Government, local government, LEPs and the UK economy. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has reduced its forecast of GDP growth for 2017 by 0.5%, with growth expected to weaken further through to 2020. In large part this reflects poor growth in productivity since the recession. And, of course, all of this is before we factor in the possible impacts of Brexit.