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IPPR says new regional economic authorities should lead infrastructure planning

Words: Huw Morris
Mayoral elections in England / Shutterstock_225476584

Four regional economic authorities should be created in England as part of a major move to devolve governance and tackle inequality.

The call, by the Institute for Public Policy Research’s (IPPR) Commission on Economic Justice, envisages that these authorities would be responsible for infrastructure planning, regional industrial strategy, inward investment and immigration.

These authorities, which the commission calls “economic executives” would cover the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, with the others responsible for the South West, and the East and South East.

The IPPR’s commission calls for the creation of combined local authorities in both city and county regions. These would be responsible for place-based elements of industrial strategy, including labour market planning, further education and skills, business support services and the development of “local wealth-building” strategies using public procurement.

An Inclusive Growth Fund of £10 billion would replace European Regional Development and Social Funds. This would be administered by devolved governments, the new regional economic executives and combined authorities.
In a wide-ranging report on how to make the UK economy fairer, the commission says the introduction of a “sustainable economy act” would mandate statutory short-term and long-term targets for a broad range of environmental impacts. This would be modelled on the Climate Change Act 2008 and would require UK governments to set out comprehensive plans and policies to meet such targets, with an independent committee on sustainability monitoring progress.

Prosperity and Justice is available here.  

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