Prosperity, Inclusivity and Sustainability Across UK Regions – WM REDI Policy Briefing

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This policy briefing reports on a study to assess economic growth, inclusivity and sustainability across UK regions in terms of both current performance (in 2018) and change in performance (between 2013 and 2018). It is part of a larger, on-going (ESRC-funded) project on ‘Local Institutions, Productivity, Sustainability and Inclusivity Trade-offs’ (LIPSIT).

We developed a regional typology from proxy measures of economic prosperity, inclusivity and sustainability. These key indicators, plus a description of the method we adopted can be found in the Technical Annex.

The key findings from the policy briefing are:

  • Economic prosperity is highest in London and the South East, however, London is amongst the least inclusive regions in the UK. The most inclusive region is the West of England.
  • Assessing performance change across regions shows low levels of economic prosperity growth in the North and East of England compared to average-to-good improvements in the South. Also revealed are several high-growth hot-spots, including the West Midlands. On measures of sustainability, London and surrounding areas, the West of England, Manchester and Tees Valley perform well.
  • While typically the most prosperous areas are also the most inclusive, there are wide variations over the short-term in the performance of UK regions towards achieving inclusive growth outcomes.
  • Some regions achieving high growth on measures of economic prosperity are also managing to achieve greater equality across socio-economic groups and/or increase levels of sustainability.
  • For other regions achieving high growth on measures of economic prosperity there appear to be trade-offs involved with no or low improvement in inclusivity and/or sustainability.
  • The results indicate different economic growth trajectories across regions, revealing the most dynamic, emerging, marginalised and declining regions in the UK. These provide insight for targeting support as well as from where lessons can be learnt for regions looking to improve prosperity.

Download and view the full policy briefing.


The policy briefing was written by Dr Charlotte Hoole, Research Fellow and Professor Simon Collinson, Director, WM REDI / City-REDI.

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