The UK is one of the most unequal developed countries in the world.
We have big variations in productivity levels not just between regions, but also within regions. And this trend is worsening.
As the Chancellor rightly said in his Bloomberg Speech, driving shared prosperity the length and breadth of the UK is not only a moral and social imperative: it’s also an economic one. The UK cannot maximise its growth potential without all our nations and regions firing on all cylinders.
But by leveraging each region’s comparative advantage to build competitive regions and nations – and by taking an ambitious approach to economic clusters – the CBI believes there’s huge potential in (and for) the “everywhere economy”.
There are already examples of successful clusters in the UK, built around specialist knowledge, expertise and experience in high-value sectors. Take the compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales – which generates more than £600m each year and employs over 2,000 people. Or Western Europe’s largest space cluster at Harwell in Oxfordshire, which contains over 100 space organisations and employs 1,400+ people. Net zero gives us the opportunity to develop more, as we’re helping to show with our work in the Humber.
Focusing on the role of anchor institutions, strong leadership and storytelling, and collaboration, our Clusters Playbook shows ways that your organisation can help make where you live, work or play a thriving source of jobs and opportunity, and a place to be proud of. It's how we ensure the benefits of economic growth are felt not just in London and the South-East but across the whole of the UK.
But it also highlights the need for a supportive policy environment. This Spring, we’ve asked the government to help spur growth everywhere by driving infrastructure delivery, working to develop world-class clusters and allowing regions to build on their individual strengths through devolution deals. Together, action on these fronts would help the UK’s regions to both individually and collectively thrive.