Since the launch of the Commission’s Interim Report the RSA Inclusive Growth Commission has been travelling the country, organising formal evidence hearings with city leaders, deep-dive city case studies, Fellowship engagement events and attending Labour and Conservative Party Conferences.
We have witnessed the urgent need and appetite for a fiscal reset, one that is powered by the need, in the words of our Chair Stephanie Flanders, “to do things differently”. She argues not only is this required to answer emerging critiques of contemporary capitalism but also to address the need for investments in social as well as physical infrastructure.
The Inclusive Growth Commission's Interim report argues for a step-change in the delivery of devolution. We call this ‘grown up devolution’.
Grown up devolution requires a bringing together of economic and social policy, thinking how welfare, economic development, skills and education policies together can ensure places achieve quality, inclusive growth. This is a profound shift but builds on pre-existing civic leadership the Commission has witnessed in places like Bristol, Manchester and the West Midlands which has the potential to reinvigorate democracy and tackle some of the most entrenched social issues of our time: lack of security, isolation and inequality.
Our emerging findings point towards new measurements and working with partner’s across the UK aim to identify new metrics needed to quantify, compare and fuel inclusive growth. As Stephanie Flanders suggests in this video, this will be focused on understanding that investment in human and social capital, from skills to education, social transfers and education are and always were investments in hard economic outcomes.
We argue that grown-up devolution will help contribute to healing a fractious and divided nation. We argue that more powerful civic instituions that encourage public services, business and the third sector to think in the long-term interest of their place can bring about accelerated and inclusive economic growth.
Indeed, as Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol pointed out at the Interim Report launch, we need to go beyond moral conviction and properly understand the cost of un-inclusive growth and measure it in economic terms.
As Stephanie Flanders outlines, it’s a bold vision, one that we are beginning to see resonating globally. This vision is fuelled by a growing need for different and creative responses to broken markets and unequal growth that from Sheffield to Pittsburgh the commission has heard stories from time and again. Crucially, the emerging findings point to what the RSA City Growth Commission and others, such as the Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy call for; that towns, cities and sub-regions must play a central role in delivering a national inclusive growth strategy. Something that our director Charlotte Alldritt has recently advocated.
We await this year’s Autumn Statement as an important yardstick to assess the extent to which the government is prepared to take Theresa May’s rhetoric in her first Downing Street address into practical action.
As the Commission's focus draws closer, we are re-opening our Call for Evidence, which we invite all interested parties to share with us relevant case studies, research, and insight in line with the Commission’s three main research themes: Economy, Place and Governance.
Submit evidence to the Commission: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @IncGrowth
Read our Interim Report