The UK economy has had a split personality since the Great Recession, combining a record-strong labour market with historically low productivity growth. A solution to this ‘productivity puzzle’ has so far eluded policymakers, but it is indispensable for the country’s future prosperity. In this report, we advance a bold set of policies to end the stagnation, while simultaneously redesigning the UK’s economic model towards more inclusive and greener growth.

Decades of productivity divergence among British firms and an increasing concentration of highly productive businesses and industries in south east regions of England1 have transformed the UK into the most regionally unequal country in Europe. The same period witnessed a decline in innovation and infrastructure spending, a concentration of knowledge in fewer firms, weakening local government, uncontrolled growth and consolidation of the financial sector, and a detached shareholding class monopolising corporate governance.

Our proposed remedy is simple: to decentralise the UK economy.