Proposals welcome in UK2070 Commission's second report
As active supporters of the UK2070 Commission, we had the privilege of continuing to contribute to the organisation’s work.
We have been particularly focused on supporting the Commission’s consideration of the relationship between reshaping the economic and social geography of the UK, and delivering social and economic infrastructure priorities, at both national and regional levels.
The Commission’s second report was launched today. We welcome the seven recommendations it sets out, particularly those related to establishing and delivering the priorities for social and economic infrastructure:
Climate Change: protect disadvantaged communities who are most at risk from its impact and use the market opportunities created by a move to a carbon zero economy to rebalance our economic geography.
Deliver a 20-year connectivity revolution: commit to renewing and extending out-dated transport infrastructure so that it reflects the present economy rather than the past; reconnect marginalised communities and shift towards shared transport and new technologies.
Strengthen the foundations of local economies: provide higher quality advice for SMEs delivering local, everyday services; put refocused Further Education at the heart of a refreshed skills agenda; introduce universal standards to ensure adequate local services, particularly in marginalised communities.
Accelerate devolution: devolve decisions about regional economies to all regions, not just those with government-sanctioned deals; introduce Parliamentary Committees and Cabinet positions which recognise and respond to the Powerhouses of the North, Midlands, South West and South East.
A plan for England: introduce a spatial plan for England setting out explicit, funded priorities for coordinated, connected development which supports the UK’s global role whilst addressing regional inequalities.
Following its publication, we stated that the Commission’s first interim report was “a great addition to the wider debate around infrastructure”. This update has built on this, and we fully support the call for “a radical shift towards shared forms of transport, new technologies and increased capacities with up to potentially 1000km of new rail connections, as well as existing proposed commitments, delivered by 2040.”
As we have seen with recent Government announcements the Commission’s call for accelerated devolution is already being addressed with the proposed increase in local control of rail services. In our view this is not only welcome, but essential as a key enabler to achieve the greater gains the Commission has identified.
Commenting on the second report Patricia Moore, Managing Director UK, said:
The UK2070 Commission’s second report shows that regional inequalities across the UK are no longer tolerable. Regional development sorely needs a stimulus to provide an integrated approach giving us continuity and a long term plan.
We welcome the seven recommendations of the report. It is exciting to see a framework through which we will stimulate investment, allowing us to develop new skills in digital manufacture and offsite assembly. This approach will also ignite the change our industry so desperately needs to transform construction.”
The UK2070 Commission is an independent inquiry into the deep– rooted spatial inequalities in the United Kingdom. The second report from the Commission follows issues raised in its initial report in May 2019 and further discussed at a National Symposium held in Leeds on 13 June 2019. The Commission will produce a final report in January 2020.