The Inclusive Growth agenda outlines a somewhat neglected strategy to link economic development with concerns over the distribution of wealth in Leeds City Region. Leeds Inclusive Growth Strategy 2018-2022 and its well-meaning goals to address low growth and high inequality will be achieved through twelve ‘Big Ideas’ that tend to focus upon supply-side interventions in the local labour market to reduce unemployment. For example, through strengthening the role of schools in job training, improving the commercialisation of knowledge in universities and improving transport links between the city centre and surrounding communities. Ultimately, the strategy appears to be business-as-usual economic development, lacking in some much needed policy innovation.
Though the inclusive growth strategy may have its heart in the right place, a lack of foresight may ultimately impede the goals of the inclusive growth agenda. Particularly, technological advancements in automation are likely to deteriorate the future of work and exacerbate inequality in the region. For instance, rapid technological advances will likely polarise local job markets in Leeds City Region. It follows that achieving a truly inclusive economy for the future of Leeds City Region, it requires much more comprehensive reforms than those set out in the 2018-2022 strategy.
Accordingly, a conference has been set up to address fundamental policy debates over more innovative ways to reduce inequality. On the 19th of October at Platform (New Station St, Leeds LS1 4JB), this conference will gather leading experts and policymakers to introduce local stakeholders to radical approaches to economic development and urge the necessity for local policymakers to think beyond supply-side interventions in the labour market of Leeds City Region. Though the Inclusive Growth Strategy may reflect the limited powers of regional authorities, the event points to the necessity for stronger powers of devolution to city regions and local authorities by introducing local policymakers to the rationale behind more radical policies. The events on the 19th of October will be a productive debate between suggestions and disagreements, rather than the imposition of radical ideas in the region. Ultimately, the conference will reiterate the importance of radical departures from mainstream economic policy paradigms, in order to ensure an inclusive growth for all in Leeds City Region. If you are interested in the following questions, you can register for the conference here.
- Can inequality be more effectively reduced by democratising power and ownership in the local economy?
- Is more precarious self-employment a legitimate policy goal for the 21st century?
- Is the fear of mass technological unemployment a justified concern for Leeds City Region?
- Why are local wealth building strategies absent from the inclusive growth agenda?
- Why are mainstream business development programs prioritised over ‘alternative models of ownership’?
- Can radical welfare proposals like UBI or UBS achieve a truly inclusive economy?
- Is more entrepreneurship the answer to inequality?