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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

IPPR: Johnson right that economic model is broken, but offers no solutions to address structural weaknesses

Labour market shortages are the wrong way to raise wages, says IPPR

The IPPR think tank has welcomed the Prime Minister’s pledge to turn Britain away from the UK’s existing flawed economic model and regional inequalities, but warns that the lack of policies announced means we won’t see a consequential break with the past.

The think tank has long made the case for a high-skill, high-investment and high-pay economy, but is clear that labour market shortages are not the way to achieve this, they will only make us collectively less well off.

Carys Roberts, IPPR executive director, said:

The Prime Minister promised to break with the past, but with today’s £20 Universal credit cut we are seeing more of the same. To truly turn our back on the UK’s broken economic model, the Prime Minister should have announced a transformative economic agenda. Reaching net zero and levelling up are vital missions that the UK can use as central pillars of this, but on both we are still left waiting for crucial policy detail.”

George Dibb, head of the IPPR Centre for Economic Justice, said:

“The Prime Minister is right to say that the UK’s economic model is broken, but his lack of policies to remedy this speaks volumes. Labour market shortages alone won’t lift wages and working conditions across the UK economy. Our productivity has been flatlining and we’re one of the worst performers amongst developed nations in terms of levels of investment. A better UK economy with well-paid jobs is possible, but only if we fix the root-causes first.

“Johnson is keen to differentiate himself from the past decade of economic policies, but today’s cut to Universal Credit is just a continuation of the failed economics of Cameron and May. The Universal Credit cut will push half a million people into poverty overnight whilst prices are spiking. This will further reduce demand in the economy, further exacerbating the problem of low-pay.”


Carys Roberts and George Dibb are available for interview


Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: 07779 204798 [email protected]


  1. This month IPPR published Prosperity and Justice after the Pandemic a report detailing the powershifts needed to address the structural weaknesses in the UK economy, including investing to achieve full employment. Available here:
  2. The landmark IPPR Economic Justice Commission (2018) found that the economy is not working for millions of people, is fundamentally flawed and in need of fundamental reform. Available here:
  3. IPPR North identified in Divided and Connected (2019) that the UK was the most regionally divided and centralised country compared to similar advanced economies. Available here:
  4. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.