William Eichler 30 May 2019

Devolution necessary for ‘rebalancing’ economy, report says

Power and resources must be devolved to a ‘comprehensive framework’ of mayoral and combined authorities and rural counties in order to rebalance the economy, report says.

The UK2070 Commission’s report – Fairer and Stronger: Rebalancing the UK Economy – highlights how uneven economic growth is in the UK as well as the impact this has on productivity.

London, the UK’s richest region, has a 50% higher level of productivity than any other nation or region in the UK. This gap is expected to grow with over 50% of future job growth going to London and the wider south east.

Uneven economic development has multiple consequences for society, the report argues.

One in four poor children, for example, live in the most deprived local authority areas where healthy life expectancy is 19 years less than the most affluent areas.

The cost to the NHS of societal inequalities is also estimated to be in the order of £4.8bn per year at 2011/ 2012 levels.

Fairer and Stronger reveals the economic cost of an uneven economy. The commission found that the productivity gap in the English regions is estimated to cost the economy around £40bn.

In order to help rebalance the UK economy, the UK2070 Commission proposes more effective devolution to local and regional bodies and the creation of a UK Renewal Fund to invest in infrastructure.

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