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Now’s the time for action on levelling up

The UK’s productivity has stagnated. This holds back wage growth and living standards, making us one of the most unequal countries in the OECD. We need to move beyond a one size fits all approach to levelling up. We need clusters - when interconnected businesses, suppliers, universities and research organisations exist and operate together, so much so that they gain a competitive advantage over other places.

The change we’re calling for

Levelling up needs to be more than just a slogan. Clusters are more productive than other parts of the economy. They drive innovative behaviours and help attract world class talent to UK businesses. This is key to making UK businesses more productive and therefore globally competitive. That’s why we’re calling on government and business to support the CBI’s efforts to make the UK a world leader on cluster development.

  • Commission the CBI to develop a business-led initiative to deliver world-class clusters in the future

  • Shape and change the policy and regulatory landscape to support cluster development

  • Invest in all regions and nations across the UK to support the levelling up agenda

Clusters Playbook

All you need to know about building a successful cluster

  • UK Competitiveness —

    Why clusters matter for regional economic growth

  • Thriving regions —

    Why we can’t build clusters without investing in digital skills

How do clusters make a difference?

Clusters have huge benefits to local, national and global growth

Clusters are a tried and tested policy solution to raising productivity and creating globally competitive industries. They will create a number of tangible benefits for the UK economy.

  • Closing the productivity gap between the highest and lowest performing parts of the UK could add as much as £215bn to the UK economy

  • A 10% boost in GVA within areas of existing business specialisation and concentration could add £66bn to the UK

  • We’ve identified as many as 50 cluster opportunities in the UK, but this could grow as a result of the net zero transition

How clusters can help you to level up

Learn from other businesses and discover how they’re leading, and benefiting from, cluster initiatives across the UK.

  • Net zero —

    Towards net-zero 2050: why we need to work together

  • Net zero —

    How can hydrogen help businesses reach net zero?

  • Future of Work —

    The role of universities in the CBI’s economic vision

Our progress and impact

The CBI campaigns tirelessly on behalf of our members so that business creates prosperity for all. Learn more about the work we do and the impact we are making on this issue.

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Support the change

  • Join the CBI

    Our members are our mandate, and the reason we're the most influential business organisation in the UK. Join the voice of business and help us campaign to secure a fresh approach to cluster development that delivers on levelling up.

  • Have your say

    We want to hear your business’ views on how government could support your business benefit from cluster developments across the UK. If you have thoughts on how business and government can work together to solve these issues, please get involved and help drive real change.

  • Make a difference

    This campaign is led by the CBI's Regions team. Contact Hannah Richmond, Head of Clusters Policy, to find out about the change UK business urgently needs and how you can support it.