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JRF - Challenge for new metro mayors to ensure everyone benefits from economic growth

Areas with newly elected metro mayors and city leaders must use their powers and budgets to ensure everyone benefits from national economic growth.

It comes as research highlights how many regions with the figureheads, elected last week, are among the areas facing the biggest challenges to achieving inclusive growth – economic growth that benefits everyone.

The second annual Inclusive Growth Monitor – published by the University of Manchester and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - provides a tool for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), metro mayors and local authorities to measure how their regions 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.

Looking at the 39 LEPs in England, the report by the Inclusive Growth Analysis Unit found:

  • 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.
  • The Tees Valley and North Eastern LEPs were among the areas seeing fastest growth in prosperity, alongside London, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Enterprise M3. Despite some progress, the Tees Valley and North Eastern LEPs however still have some of the lowest levels of prosperity and economic inclusion overall.
  • On inclusion, York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire, Cheshire and Warrington, Hertfordshire, Greater Cambridge and Peterborough and Thames Valley Berkshire showed most progress over the last five years. The Liverpool City Region and Tees Valley were around the middle of the pack for progress on inclusion, showing some progress but much for the mayors still to do. 

How are different regions faring on creating inclusive economic growth?

Inclusive growth scatter graph

The graph shows progress on prosperity (skills, jobs, and economic output) and inclusion (improvements in incomes at the bottom of the distribution, unemployment and the cost of living) from 2010 to 2015 for Local Enterprise Partnership areas.

The full report and dataset is available here.

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, said:

“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.”

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