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CHAMBER NEWS


Region needs action, not words to address inequality


Responding to the final report of the UK 2070 Commission on regional inequalities led by Lord Kerslake, Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at the Chamber, said: “Much talk has surrounded ‘levelling up’ our regions, however it is actions and not words which will resonate with businesses and our communities here in the East Midlands and across the UK. “In recent years, for example, our region has received


only 60% of average per capita investment compared with the rest of England, despite the significant contribution we make to the UK economy.


‘The report is also right to highlight the importance of a Shared Prosperity Fund’


“As intimated in the report, the future of our regions


must be shaped and influenced by business knowledge of local and regional needs and be accountable to local communities, rather than the current model of centrally-driven initiatives that either inspire little confidence or do not come to full fruition. “The report is also right to highlight the importance


of a Shared Prosperity Fund to replace EU regional development funding and failure to do so adequately could have substantial consequences for investment and regeneration in many parts of the UK, not least the East Midlands.” Dr Adam Marshall, Director General at the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “Future UK growth


Adam Marshall


depends both on investment in areas with untapped potential and on genuine devolution of decision- making powers and funding to every part of the UK. “A long-term strategy to ‘level up’ must be shaped


by business knowledge of local and regional needs, and be accountable to local communities. Government must stop perpetuating an endless cycle of transient, centrally-driven initiatives that promise much but deliver little on the ground.”


44 business network April 2020


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