UK commission to tackle pandemic recovery

A Commission for Economic Renewal has been launched in the UK in a bid to formulate policies and interventions needed to rebuild the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The brainchild of the Institute of Economic Development (IED), the commission intends to bring together "some of the UK’s foremost economic development practitioners and academics".An invitation to join the commission has now been made by the IED after discussions with officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).The IED has already held a webinar, ‘Resilience in Crisis', to see how economic development and regeneration professionals are responding to the pandemic.The prime mover behind the establishment of the commission has been IED director Keith Burge, who said: “The serious economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic demand a considered response.“It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of businesses and hundreds and thousands of jobs are under threat, requiring the UK government, the devolved administrations and a variety of other agencies to formulate robust and comprehensive strategies and action plans in order to mitigate these risks."The Commission for Economic Renewal brings together a wide variety of interests across economic development, with the single purpose of using their combined experience and expertise to help shape our economic futures.“In doing so, the Commission will not necessarily seek to recreate that which went before, but will use this unique opportunity to explore how a more vibrant, sustainable, secure, fair and green economy can be built going forward.”
Drawing on analyses of impact by business sector and geography, the commission will consider the types of interventions that are most likely to prove effective, represent value for money for the public purse, and have the potential to achieve positive social and environmental change outcomes.Amongst other subject areas, this will include infrastructure needs, support for research and innovation, general business support, the future for higher and further education, support for particular sectors and support for specific local economies. The emphasis is on “practical, implementable recommendations,” Keith said.Bev Hurley, who chairs the IED, said: “We are delighted to launch the Commission for Economic Renewal today and respond so swiftly to the economic issues and challenges that are affecting our members and the country more widely resulting from Covid-19.“We are keen to make a contribution to the formulation of policies and interventions that might be adopted by the government, devolved administrations and others in seeking to revive the economy at different spatial levels.“Discussions with MHCLG and BEIS officials have encouraged this approach and invited our contribution to their deliberations, but our work is not driven or constrained by political considerations. The commission is entirely independent and designed to make a genuine impact on the UK’s economic renewal.”

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