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Call for national framework to shape England’s post-Brexit future

Words: Huw Morris
Brexit | Shutterstock: 338831222

A national framework to balance growth and shape the post-Brexit economy is needed for England, according to a group of experts.

The framework would set priorities for development while ensuring regions are empowered and supported to fulfil their potential.

The move would fill a gap in England after devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own national frameworks.

The call comes from the Common Futures Network, a forum of economists, planners, housing experts, engineers and development interests. It said last year’s Brexit vote highlighted a “greater need than ever” for a coordinated national economic strategy, with England “starkly divided” by geography and social class.

The new framework would tie together the government’s industrial strategy with policies on infrastructure, the environment, housing and devolution.

It would tackle job creation across “marginalised” regions such as the Midlands and the North, which voted for Brexit, while areas such as Cornwall, Cumbria, and Tees Valley are set to lose EU regional development funding. Rural areas face similar challenges with the withdrawal of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“Come Brexit, planning – so long out of fashion – needs to come back in a contemporary form,” said Jim Steer, a member of the network and founder of transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave. “The government’s industrial strategy is expected to be ‘place-based’. It needs to be if economic development is top extend beyond the favoured metropolitan centres.”

The network’s recommendations include the launch of a regional development fund to replace EU finance, an urban programme to revive struggling towns and cities accompanied by one for rural areas, and a national strategy to identify development areas to accommodate a population increase of nine million by 2040.

It also called for a comprehensive evolution all encompassing all regions alongside new arrangements for managing the “mega-region” of London the South-East.

Further details are available here.

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