Growing Together – a powerful new joint advocacy for further progress on devolution

Client: London First

Year: 2018

This project, commissioned by London First involved developing common ground for collaboration between four business groups: London First, North West Business Leadership Team, The Northern Powerhouse, and Business North.

It represents a statement of priorities for working together and growing together. The project involved detailed economic research, and workshops to develop key ideas and priorities. The report was released with cross-platform support and speeches from the key organisations involved.

Brexit shone a light on what divides the UK. The vote to leave the European Union deepened the fault lines running through today’s society. Just before becoming prime minister, Theresa May spoke about the ‘gaping chasm’ between London and the rest of the country as she set out an agenda for shared prosperity.

Regional devolution was championed as a way to help rebalance the economy and distribute the nation’s earnings more fairly. The rigours of Brexit make it more important than ever to rebalance the UK economy towards high-tech, high-growth industries that every part of the country can benefit from. The Government recognised the challenge in its Industrial Strategy white paper, noting that: “The UK has greater disparities in regional productivity than other European countries. This affects people in their pay, their work opportunities and their life chances.”

Despite renewed political focus, EY’s latest regional economic forecast suggests the UK is still becoming more geographically imbalanced. The north-south divide will continue to expand over the next three years – although at a slower rate than previously. EY predicts that gross value added (GVA) growth for London and the south east would average 2.2% and 2% respectively compared to 1.8% for the wider UK.

Access the report on London First’s website here.