News | 28 Apr 2021

Covid Recovery Commission calls for UK ‘National Prosperity Plan’

The independent Covid Recovery Commission has called for a “more compassionate form of capitalism” in its third and final report.

The Commission, a panel of top business leaders set up to explore ways the country can rebuild after the pandemic, proposes a National Prosperity Plan outlining how business, government and civic society can work together to achieve better economic, social and environmental outcomes for all.

The 60-page report – Ambition 2030: A Partnership for Growth, authored by WPI Economics – argues that for economic growth to be sustainable and fair, programmes must be rooted in local communities, with financial accountability devolved to local leaders.

This will enable the creation of bespoke initiatives tailored to the specific needs of each community, rather than the imposition of a centrally devised “one size fits all” policy.

The Commission recognises the importance of digital technologies, such as 5G and Internet of Things, in accelerating growth, decarbonising the economy and keeping communities connected. Accordingly, the report calls for Government to invest 1.2% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) annually on physical and digital infrastructure.

Vodafone is the only representative of the technology communications sector on the Commission. Welcoming the report, Ahmed Essam, CEO, Vodafone UK, said: “The pandemic has reinforced the power and importance of connectivity. For all our customers, from multinational corporations to bedroom start-ups and families at risk of being left behind, it has been a lifeline during an unprecedented period.”

Connectivity will be the “vehicle of recovery”, Mr Ahmed said, and the “foundation for innovation and growth”. But as well as building and investing in world-class infrastructure, the Government, regulators and industry needed to work together to make sure these digital technologies were “accessible to all”, he said. Regulators should ensure that markets are competitive, he argued, not just that consumers are protected.

“Levelling-up” is as much about social as well as economic indicators, the Commission believes. And only by treating the health and wellbeing of communities as equally important as their economic prospects, can the UK achieve a “stronger, fairer, more resilient economy”.

The Commission proposes introducing a National Prosperity Scorecard to assess and track progress on a key set of social – as well as economic – indicators, such as mental health, transport connectivity, and community resilience.

Other proposals in the report include the creation of:

• at least one new globally competitive industry cluster in every part of the UK by 2030;
• a Great British Supply Chain;
• a ‘Help to Train’ scheme to assist in halving the projected skills gap by 2030;
• a National Deal for Net Zero homes;
• a Community Infrastructure Endowment Fund;
• a Wellbeing at Work Guarantee.

You can download the full report by clicking on the red button at the top of the page.

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