Following the General Election the Conservatives are to form a minority government. There is now new uncertainty as to the stability of the new administration and questions as to the extent it will be able to focus on building an economy for everyone. However, whilst national politics and government are important, it’s worth reminding ourselves that that change does not begin and end in Whitehall.
As we move towards Brexit, there are three possible paths for local economic development, says Neil McInroy.
For many years the dominant approach has failed to build a local economy for all. Brexit makes the challenge harder and we need to take a huge step up.
Under the auspices of devolution, mainstream economic development has followed traditional lines around investment in hard infrastructure, civic boosterism, city centres, planning relaxation and post-19 skills. Overall it has slotted into and complied with the Treasury economic model – favouring agglomeration economics and narrow wealth concentration. As a result, mainstream economic development has been socially failing, and presided over growing economic imbalances.
Brexit and ongoing economic and social troubles has exposed the choices. On the one hand, there is a progressive choice – greater inclusion, hope, social growth and a narrowing of the gap between the haves and the have-nots. On the other, there is a more reactionary choice – fear, more divisions, economic growth for a few, and a deepening hardship for many.
Theresa May must rethink devolution to stop post-Brexit Britons feeling even more abandoned by the Government, report finds.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake has called for a fresh push to end Yorkshire’s devolution deadlock in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.
Devolution is not without significant risks and challenges. A new joint paper ‘The Real Deal: Pushing the parameters of devolution deals’ from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) explores the restrictions in the current devolution agenda, and presents ideas for a new settlement to make devolution a force for progressive change.
Downtown Manchester in Business recently hosted a special post referendum event at Alberts Square Chop House on Wednesday. The event entitled ‘Re:Brexit?’ discussed Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
Framed by austerity, the economic reality behind many voters choosing Brexit was a future of little promise – insecure jobs, insecure public provision, insecure futures. As a result, many leave voters felt that they had little or nothing to lose. On the back of an economic recession eight years ago, insecurity and a social recession has been built.
The EU referendum has shone a light on the failure of the treasury’s local economic and devolution model. The ‘devolution revolution’ may have beguiled some, but it has passed many by. The promised ‘northern powerhouse’ was a canny brand which few saw any tangible outcome from. Indeed, I know of many economic development practitioners who felt that austerity framed devolution and its bullish treasury-backed city agglomeration ‘growth at all costs’ approach was flawed. However, they rightly got on with it, longing for it to be just a start, and something to grapple, amend and make progressive.