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Commission for Economic Renewal launched by Institute of Economic Development


The Institute of Economic Development (IED) has today launched the Commission for Economic Renewal, which will bring together some of the UK’s foremost economic development practitioners and academics to formulate the policies and interventions it believes will be needed to rebuild economies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following discussions with officials representing the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – and also responding to perspectives of the IED’s public and private sector members shared in this week’s ‘Resilience in crisis: How are economic development and regeneration professionals responding to coronavirus?’ webinar – the Institute has pioneered and is now playing a headline role in facilitating economic recovery by exploring potential interventions.

The Commission has been instigated by IED Director Keith Burge, supported by all IED Board members including Institute Chair Bev Hurley and Executive Director Nigel Wilcock, and is now inviting thought leaders in the economic development sector to join its quest.

“The serious economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic demand a considered response,” Keith said. “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 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.

IED Chair Bev Hurley added: “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.”

The Commission will be convened in May, with its first meeting focusing on agreeing its terms of reference, the allocation of responsibilities amongst its members and the finalisation of its delivery timetable. It is envisaged that the Commission will report in Autumn 2020.


Keith Burge is available for interview via Phil Smith, Institute of Economic Development PR consultant, on 01778 218180 / 07866 436159 /

Notes to editors:

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. Established over 30 years ago, the IED’s key objective is to represent the interests of economic development practitioners and ensure their views are widely expressed and noted. The IED is committed to demonstrating the value of economic development work for local and regional communities; the pursuit of best practice in economic development and the attainment of the highest standards of professional conduct and competence.