As attention turned to the path out of the pandemic, we explored the challenges the UK faces in levelling up and its importance in bringing about a fairer and greener post-Covid recovery.
As we look beyond the pandemic, it’s critical that local and national governments and businesses work together to deliver a fair recovery and a greener economy.
From the regeneration of town centres and high streets to improving transport links and investing in local culture, the Government has sought to kick-start this process by making changes to the way it supports economic growth at a local level across the UK by setting up the Levelling Up fund. It has also unveiled plans to publish a Levelling Up White Paper later this year, and has appointed a Levelling Up adviser.
As part of our Future of Government programme, we explored how the challenges of inequality can be addressed. During the year we have surveyed 8,000 members of the UK public - rising to 16,000 by the end of 2021 - about their concerns and priorities around geographical inequality. Combined with this, we engaged national and regional leaders to identify the success factors they believe are key to successfully levelling up.
Among the research launched was our Driving Social Mobility report which highlighted the biggest barriers people face to reach their potential, and how the Government and businesses can help improve social inequalities.
Among other findings, we learned that a quarter of people (25%) who received free school meals, indicating those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, do not think that education has helped them get on in life, and whilst many aspired to work in professional jobs when they were growing up, these aspirations have not been met.
As part of our work, we also held national and regional events including a series of roundtables. Partnering with Centre for Cities this included bringing together a panel of city leaders including Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Abi Brown, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council to discuss the challenges to make levelling up a reality and with that the priorities and opportunities ahead.
“Government and its partners must work together to remove barriers and provide greater opportunities to make sure people are getting on based on their potential, and not on their background. Key to this will be taking a broader approach to growth, including creating vibrant places for people to live, work and fulfil their potential. By taking an approach that combines these elements, we can work together to level up the UK and deliver a fair recovery for all.”
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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom