Atkins and public affairs consultancy Devoconnect have released a Building Back and Levelling Up report, setting out six key recommendations to help the north level-up and recover from the pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis.
Richard Robinson, Atkins CEO for UK & Europe, said: “Covid-19 has made the regional inequalities that divide our nation all the more apparent. We hope the recommendations in this report will help guide investment and policy decisions related to housing, skills, transport and a green recovery. This is an incredible opportunity to break free from old ideas which were holding us back and to accelerate our levelling up journey.”
Key recommendations from the report include:
- Accelerating schemes in the north which have the biggest impact on recovery and decarbonisation;
- Focusing policy on placemaking and more devolved powers and resources to make this happen;
- A fully funded pan-northern transport investment programme;
- A jobs and skills strategy for the north that tackles Covid unemployment and skills for the future;
- Investment in affordable housing and retrofitting as a key part of the Northern Energy Policy;
- A national spatial plan to enable investment and ambition in the north.
The report is based on research developed following input from over 40 government ministers, MPs, peers, industry, business and public sector leaders, including: Lord Deben, chair, Climate Change Committee; Andrew Stephenson, minister of state, department for transport; Henri Murison, director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership; and Lord Richard Best, chair, Affordable Housing Commission.
Gill Morris, chief executive at Devoconnect, said: “As we approach a post-Covid, post-Brexit world, we have an opportunity to address the regional economic and environmental disparities being faced across the UK. Through the key recommendations outlined in this report, we hope to see a number of key issues addressed – from green investment to the creation of a dedicated skills and jobs strategy – to see government and industry, together, successfully rebuild and rebalance the Northern Powerhouse.”