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Promoting growth and shared prosperity in the UK Priority

business and industry , economy , equality , globalisation , jobs , trade


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This major programme of work aims to identify public policies that will promote the economic growth needed to return the UK to full employment and ensure that the benefits of future prosperity are more equally shared.

From 1997 to 2007, the Labour government’s strategy for promoting economic activity and sharing prosperity combined ‘light-touch’ regulation and unfettered growth in the private sector with heavy use of the tax and benefit system to achieve a more equal distribution of incomes. This model’s flaws were brutally highlighted by the financial crisis and deep recession of 2008 and 2009 but, as yet, no convincing alternative approach has emerged. The Coalition government has focussed on reducing the budget deficit and spent less time seeking to identify the policies required to boost the economy’s rate of growth.

This project will seek to develop a new framework for the UK economy, set out ways in which UK companies could change to better exploit their comparative advantages and compete in the global economy, and identify how increased prosperity can be shared across the regions and nations of the UK and through fairer pay and full employment.

The work will be guided by an advisory panel and will comprise a series of in-depth policy papers and public debates. There will also be meetings at party conferences and bigger events that include contributions from leading politicians and other policymakers. Papers will be produced by IPPR staff and commissioned from external experts. A subsite within will be set up to encourage a wide debate on the emerging policy proposals and provide a forum for commentary on the economy and policy ideas that are developed by the government, the opposition or other researchers.

Project detail

We have identified a large number of topics that could be explored by this programme of work. These have been grouped into four broad areas of research:

1. The current context

  • Britain’s economy: its strengths, weaknesses and potential
  • Britain in the global economy: opportunities and threats
  • Britain in 2015
  • Growth versus other objectives

2. Shaping the business environment: a new framework for success

  • Macro-economic stability: a new approach
  • Financing growth: banking on success
  • 21st century infrastructure: transport, science and broadband
  • Promoting growth: structural reform and competition law
  • Smarter skills: investing in people
  • Low-carbon growth

3. World-beating companies

  • Boosting productivity: research, innovation and enterprise
  • A new role for government: modern industrial strategy
  • Corporate governance: committed owners and far-sighted managers
  • Making enterprise pay: small businesses and self-employment

4. Sharing prosperity

  • Ensuring Britain’s nations and regions share in wealth creation
  • Fair pay and higher living standards
  • Full and fulfilling employment: tackling joblessness and promoting good work


IPPR will produce and commission a series of papers that identify new economic policy ideas and proposals designed to promote economic growth in the UK and to ensure that prosperity is more equally shared. These ideas and proposals will be tested in a series of seminars and public debates and developed in a way that makes them accessible to policymakers.

It is intended that this programme of work will have a high media profile. In addition to the policy papers and summary report, there will be a range of media and public outputs, including articles by IPPR staff.

The programme’s profile will be enhanced by contributions from leading politicians and other policymakers, including to events at party conferences. Special conferences will be organised to present some of the findings of the programme. Speakers at these conferences will include government ministers, senior Labour Party figures, members of the advisory panel and other experts.

After one year, a summary report will be published, setting out a series of policy recommendations and identifying areas for future research.