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Levelling up the UK

Five success factors for delivering a fair recovery

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As attention turns to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has reiterated its commitment to levelling up and reducing geographical inequalities. It has unveiled plans to publish a Levelling Up White Paper later this year, and to appoint a Levelling Up adviser.

These are promising moves, but if levelling up is to become more than just a slogan, we believe these actions must address three key challenges exposed by the pandemic:

  • How to catalyse the economy for fair and sustainable growth, while also enabling it to become more digitalised to meet people’s needs, and greener to help the UK meet its challenging carbon reduction targets and deliver Net Zero.
  • How to deal with the vulnerabilities that COVID-19 has exposed, in areas that range from global supply chains to national borders, to the UK’s care and healthcare systems.
  • How to tackle the challenge of inequality across society, which has been both exposed and made worse by the pandemic – highlighting not only the fragility of the health and care system, but also the fragility of the UK’s social cohesion.

To investigate how business and government can work together to meet these challenges, PwC recently surveyed 4,000 members of the public across the UK, asking them about their concerns around geographical inequality and what they believe should be the priorities in the levelling up agenda.

The findings provide a valuable contribution to the debate and have helped Strategy& identify five success factors that we believe are key to levelling up the UK. In our report, Levelling up the UK, we examine these five factors and explore the results of the public research and polling conducted as part of our Future of Government programme, as well as our wider engagements which included national and regional roundtable events.

“The extent to which we are successful in levelling up the UK and tackling inequalities in the wake of the pandemic will play a major role in determining what kind of nation we will be in the future.”

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