Mayors should prioritise inclusive growth

Areas with newly elected metro mayors and city leaders must use their powers and budgets to ensure everyone benefits from national economic growth, a new report has said.

The University of Manchester and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) have produced the second annual Inclusive Growth Monitor, which reports on how Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), metro mayors and local authorities are performing on inclusive growth.

Each LEP is given a score on 18 different indicators based on prosperity – skills, jobs, and economic output – and economic inclusion: how much this prosperity is accompanied by improvements in incomes at the bottom of the distribution, unemployment and the cost of living.

The report finds that many of the regions with newly elected metro mayors are among the areas facing the biggest challenges to achieving economic growth that benefits everyone. Fore example, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, the Black Country and Greater Birmingham and Solihull (both included in the new West Midlands metro mayor region) were among the areas with the biggest challenge to boost both prosperity and inclusion overall.

On the other hand, the Tees Valley and North Eastern LEPs were among the areas seeing fastest growth in prosperity, alongside London, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Enterprise M3.

Dave Innes, economist at JRF, said: “Ensuring everyone benefits from economic growth should be the number one item on the new mayor’s to-do list. Our research highlights that while many places have made encouraging progress, people living are still not benefitting from the country’s economic success.

“Driving up employment, wages and skills are crucial to delivering inclusive growth and rebalancing the economy. Mayors should work with businesses and the national government to deliver prosperity and opportunity for all within their regions.”

Dr Anthony Rafferty, co-author of the report and senior researcher at the University of Manchester, added: “For national and local government the Inclusive Growth Monitor lays down the considerable challenge of reflecting on how national policy and innovation at the local level may improve performance in terms of both economic inclusion and prosperity, helping deliver a more equitable and inclusive form of economic growth. We have produced the Monitor to help people to consider the extent to which people living within a given area are included in the benefits of growth and national prosperity.”