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Inclusive and Clean Growth

At least in the Global North, GDP growth is no longer an appropriate measure of the efficacy of an economy and must be replaced with metrics pertaining to improved human health, wellbeing, prosperity and quality of life. This theme asks how a Green New Deal can help cities and city regions promote clean and inclusive economic growth, remediating at once urban development, socio-economic inequalities, and the climate and ecological crisis.


Back to: Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place

Balanced regional development

Uneven geographical development and socio-spatial inequalities and polarisation continue to burden the UK. Globalisation, neoliberalism and a spatially blind investment strategy has accelerated the growth of London and the South East and produced a comparative lack of prosperity and opportunity in other regions.

The government has set out its objective to ‘level up’ economic performance in the UK and bridge the large and widening gaps between the most prosperous and deprived parts of the country. Our work seeks to explore regional disparities and inequalities and offer innovative policy solutions on how to promote balanced regional growth across the UK.

We produced a report on National Spatial Strategies in an Age of Inequality in February 2019.

Climate and ecological emergency

A signatory to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, the University of Liverpool recognises the global significance of local action in support of environmental sustainability and its responsibility, as both a UK Russell Group university and an anchor institution within Liverpool City Region, to contribute to the attainment of the SDGs by 2030.

This research pillar intensifies reflection upon the meaning and implications of the climate and ecological emergency for cities like Liverpool City Region.

In May 2019, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram declared a ‘climate emergency’ and affirmed the City Region’s commitment to undertaking urgent and proportionate remediating actions. The Metro Mayor has set his sights on Liverpool City Region becoming net zero-carbon by 2040. Local authorities and anchor institutions from the public, private and third sectors have likewise set net zero-carbon targets by or before 2040. Our issues paper ‘Towards a Green Future for Liverpool City Region’ looks at this in more detail and how we can scale and accelerate our efforts.

Brexit geographies

On 1 January 2021, the UK will hope to enter into a new bespoke relationship with the European Union, following its legal departure from the bloc on 31 January 2020 and the projected end of the 11 month transition period on 31 December 2020. The Brexit process has proven to be traumatic for res publica, impinging upon the polity in multiple, and sometimes unpredictable, ways. Indeed, whatever form Brexit eventually takes, what is clear is that the series of secession challenges it embodied ⁠— and in turn, triggered ⁠— will have profound long-term territorial ramifications for both the EU and the UK as a multi-nation, yet highly centralised state. This research pillar places under scrutiny Brexit’s social, economic, political and cultural impacts, not least on northern de-industrialised UK city-regions and towns.

Diverse economies and social economies

The Liverpool City Region has a dynamic and growing social economy. In 2015, the Heseltine Institute established the LCR Social Economy Panel, a joint initiative with practitioners in the sector to address the research and policy deficit in the field.

The Heseltine Institute funded primary research on the scale, scope and value of the city region social economy. It found that there are approximately 1,400 trading social organisations in the Liverpool City Region, holding assets of £4.4bn, and employing over 45,000 people.

This sector is a vital part of the city region economy and with targeted intervention, could become a strategic strength, supporting social inclusion and cohesion, stimulating enterprising communities and working with both the public and private sectors to ensure a strong institutional base for policy innovation.

Our work on the social economy also covers research and policy work in social housing, community assets, entrepreneurship, food poverty and social finance. Our strong links with international social economy cities through the Global Social Economy Forum offers collaborative potential for the city region.