The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story – a multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-ethnic state with the world’s best broadcaster; a vibrantly creative arts sector; a National Health Service which guarantees care for every citizen; charities and voluntary groups which perform a million acts of kindness daily; globally renowned scientists extending the boundaries of knowledge every year; entrepreneurs developing the products and services which bring joy and jobs to so many; and millions of citizens whose kindness and compassion has been so powerfully displayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. While talent is spread equally across our country, opportunity is not. Levelling up is a mission to challenge, and change, that unfairness. Levelling up means giving everyone the opportunity to fourish. It means people everywhere living longer and more fulflling lives, and beneftting from sustained rises in living standards and well-being.
This requires us to end the geographical inequality which is such a striking feature of the UK. It needs to begin by improving economic dynamism and innovation to drive growth across the whole country, unleashing the power of the private sector to unlock jobs and opportunity for all. While there are world-leading and enterprising businesses and innovators right across the UK, economic growth and the higher productivity which drives it has been over-concentrated in specifc areas, particularly the South East of England.
A long tail of low-productivity businesses and places explain why UK productivity growth is too low compared to competitors.
It is vital that we preserve and enhance the economic, academic and cultural success stories of the UK’s most productive counties, towns and cities. But it is equally critical that we improve productivity, boost economic growth, encourage innovation, create good jobs, enhance educational attainment and renovate the social and cultural fabric of those parts of the UK that have stalled and not – so far – shared equally in our nation’s success.