Driven by the passion of our members across the UK’s regions and nations, we have embarked on an ambitious project to understand what drives growth and productivity in the UK and what can be done to fix the disparity between regions and nations. In fact, 9 out of 10 UK cities are performing below the European average in terms of productivity and the most productive area of the UK remains almost three times more productive than the least.
Now is the right time to shape a more productive economy right across the UK and unlock growth in all regions and nations. The findings set out in this report and the scorecards that will follow next year can help to foster a long-term approach to lifting the UK’s growth potential – putting an evidence base behind the importance of good skills, connectivity and practices in the workplace. These are the true drivers of regional productivity differences.
All regions and nations of the UK are individual, and a tailored approach will be needed. But what remains the same is that there must be a true partnership between business and government. And where governments are looking to devolve new powers and create new structures, there is an opportunity to make a real difference. But English devolution must be implemented carefully, listening closely to the needs of businesses with regional prosperity at its heart and learning from the experiences of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Many local leaders are already stepping up to the challenge, but this needs to be seen right across the UK. Soon to be elected Mayors across England have a chance to draw a line in the sand and take regions from strength to strength. In 2017, the CBI will be taking a deeper dive into what this means for individual regions and nations. Utilising the CBI’s regional scorecard, the CBI will be helping businesses and stakeholders across the UK be clear on the regional priorities for growth.
Unlocking Regional Growth is a landmark CBI report, outlining the stark disparity between the productivity of different areas of the UK, and setting out clear recommendations for government on how the UK can unlock growth by closing those gaps.