IPPR North responds to PM’s ‘Build Build Build’ speech
IPPR North Director Sarah Longlands said:
“Today’s speech is deeply disappointing for anyone who hoped that it might set out an ambitious programme of change to tackle our regional inequalities. In the face of the biggest challenge ever to face these islands, it merely reheats existing announcements and does little to ‘level up’ power and resources across the UK. The North deserves better.
“Given the economic crisis facing our regions, we need far more than rhetoric. We need ambition, investment and action at pace and scale to help people and communities who have been hit hardest by our regional divides, by austerity and by this pandemic. These divides haven’t happened by accident, but as a result of our uniquely centralised political system. It’s a system that has proven itself unsuitable to respond to crises. The Prime Minister completely failed to recognise this in his speech today.
“We need to build back better with more than just bricks and mortar. This is about our capacity to respond, to be resilient. To build a better future for our children. In the North that means building a stronger system of devolution. It means a sensible funding settlement for local government. It means creating new green jobs as part of a Plan for Nature in the North, and it means building decent health and education into all policies to secure an inclusive and productive future economy”.
Senior Research Fellow Anna Round said:
“Investment in school buildings is welcome but ten years is a long time in education – nearly two-thirds of a school career. We need investment in people – funding for early years education, schools, and adult learning – so that our education system can overcome economic and social disadvantage and help learners to fulfil their potential. If the government’s investment ends with bricks and mortar, this promise will ring very hollow to Northern schools whose students have borne the brunt of long-term social and economic inequalities.
“It is right that the Prime Minister recognised the long-term underfunding of further education. By comparison with other nations, UK investment in adult skills is low, and fewer employees access training. That’s bad for our economy, our productivity, and our people. England’s regions need a big increase in funding for skills provision along with the powers to invest this in their local areas to support both key industries and communities. This is even more urgent in the wake of Covid-19, when workers at all stages of their careers need fast access to training and learning that means they can be part of the ambition to build back better”.
Contact: Rosie Lockwood, Media and Campaigns Manager for IPPR North, on 0161 694 9688 or [email protected]
Sarah Longlands and Anna Round are available for interview.
IPPR North is the North of England’s leading think-tank. We develop bold, progressive ideas to empower England’s region and have 16 years of independent research & influence. For more information, visit ippr.org/north.
IPPR national’s reaction to the speech which will discuss housing and the environment, will be posted online here: https://www.ippr.org/impact/media. IPPR’s media office is contactable via [email protected] or [email protected].