Inclusive growth has gained a firm foothold within the policy lexicon over recent years. Yet, despite much valuable discussion on what it is and why it is important, there remains a lack of clarity as to how it can be distinguished from more ‘typical’ economic growth strategies. Further, there remain gaps in understanding surrounding the practical steps that can be taken to foster inclusive growth. What levers do councils and combined authorities have at their disposal? How can authorities work with employers and public institutions? Which regulatory mechanisms and incentives need to be in place?
A new conversation on economic growth is certainly welcome. Over a decade on from the Financial Crash of 2008 and subsequent recession here in the UK, massive inequality persists, both between and within regions. That the UK economy has the highest levels of regional disparity among OECD nations demonstrates the structural imbalances that inclusive growth seeks to address, to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared across every section of society – both across and within regions and places.
How inclusive growth can be developed in practice is the core question underpinning a new NLGN research project we are undertaking in partnership with Barrow Cadbury Trust. We will draw on current practice from the front line of strategy implementation and service delivery. Through a series of peer learning workshops, we will share current experience, including key challenges that organisations pioneering inclusive growth interventions have experienced, and also generate new ideas. These conversations will help to inform practitioners’ approaches. The research will also explore how communities can be placed at the heart of inclusive growth strategy and delivery, following NLGN’s vision for the future of public services as set out in our Community Paradigm report.
Our goal at the end of this process is to have brought some practical clarity to the debate around inclusive growth and to have established concrete steps through which practitioners can develop their own frameworks for action. A final report will be published in January of 2020.