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Q&A with Charlotte Alldritt from the Centre for Progressive Policy

 

We have been speaking all about inclusive growth to one of the speakers at our fast approaching annual conference. Charlotte Alldritt, Deputy Director, Centre for Progressive Policy and former Director, RSA Inclusive Growth Commission gives her views below.

 

1) You previously led the RSA Inclusive Growth Commission, and you will share at the IED Annual Conference 2017 some of your experience and insight gleaned throughout the course of the Commission to devise and implement inclusive growth strategies. How do you see inclusive growth being delivered over the next year? 

At a national level, the UK government has recommitted to its vision of a 'country that works for everyone', but this mission needs to be embedded across every part of central government, its delivery agencies and regulatory bodies. It is not just a case of talking about improving skills or devising world-beating industrial strategies. The question is how we bring together the complexity of social and economic policy - domestic and international facing via trade and foreign investment - to break down the barriers to inclusive growth. Brexit has helped to put the challenge of inclusive growth to the fore of the political agenda - the success of our negotiations must be measured on the extent to which they enable greater shared prosperity and more inclusive productivity growth. At an international level, the G7 and G20 are also prioritising inclusive growth. There is a huge amount of work to do here to create a global framework that supports national and local efforts for inclusive growth. 

2) In your opinion, what is the role of local authorities and businesses in delivering inclusive growth?

Local authorities and business will be critical to delivering inclusive growth on the ground, ensuring that there is shared vision for change with the full force of collective leadership and resources behind it. National leaders need to provide the enabling macroeconomic and policy environment. The hard work then needs to happen at a place level to understand what inclusive growth could and should mean for the local area, how it can be achieved and what is needed to ensure it is embedded over the long term. This needs to be a new way of operating, not a policy fad. There is a danger that unless local leaders and businesses lead from the front and start to make meaningful change, inclusive growth will fast become a washed out term. 

3) If you could make a survival tool kit for local authorities looking to deliver growth in their areas in a time of Brexit negotiations, what would it entail and why?

Inclusive growth is as much about a process for change as it is an outcome. The survival kit would feature three questions:

1) What kind of place do you want to be? Local leaders have got to talk to their residents and civil society organisations about what kind of economy they want to create. What are the terms of trade they want business and investors - large and small - to do business in, and for, their communities?

2) What are the key barriers to achieving this shared mission? What does the data say? What do your residents, local business and civil society leaders say?

3) Do you have the institutional architecture and the quality of leadership to respond to the scale of the challenge and the opportunities for change? How can everyone play their part? 

4) What is the best piece of advice you have received during your career?

Don't be afraid to leave the civil service. 

5) What session, other than your own, are you most looking forward to at the IED Annual Conference?

I am looking forward to the skills masterclass. Skills are the heart of so much of inclusive growth, attracting investment, enabling progression, ensuring adaptability and resilience. But the UK has demonstrated persistent policy failure when it comes to skills, and - while there is a lot of change afoot - the question will be, can we get it right this time?

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