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Driving inclusive growth should be ‘top priority’ for metro mayors

Ensuring economic growth that works for everybody should be a “number one” priority for the incoming metro mayors, a key social policy research centre charity has found.

In its second Annual Growth Monitor, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) collaborated with the University of Manchester to create a tool that the city-regions can use to monitor growth and prosperity in the area.

The organisation’s research found that many of the regions that have recently elected metro mayors were facing the biggest challenges to achieving inclusive growth that benefits all residents – and not just high earners or business owners.

In particular, the Foundation found that Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, the Black Country and Greater Birmingham and Solihull – which are included in the West Midlands Combined Authority – were facing the biggest difficulties in driving inclusive progress.

And the Tees Valley and North Eastern LEPs were seeing some of the quickest rates of prosperity, on top of London, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Enterprise M3.

Dave Innes, economist at JRF, said: “Ensuring everyone benefits from economic growth should be the number one item on the new mayor’s to-do list.

“Our research highlights that while many places have made encouraging progress, people living are still not benefitting from the country’s economic success.”

Innes added that driving up employment, wages and skills is crucial to delivering inclusive growth and rebalancing the economy.

“Mayors should work with businesses and the national government to deliver prosperity and opportunity for all within their regions,” he concluded.

And Dr Anthony Rafferty, co-author of the report and senior researcher at the University of Manchester, said that the Inclusive Growth Monitor laid out the considerable challenge of reflecting on how national policy and innovation at a local level could deliver a more equitable and inclusive form of economic growth.

“We have produced the monitor to help people to consider the extent to which people living within a given area are included in the benefits of growth and national prosperity,” he stated.

The news follows think tank IPPR North telling the new mayors that they must work with London mayor Sadiq Khan to reboot a new devolution agenda.

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