UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity criticises top down levelling-up and calls for a 21st Century approach to prosperity

16 March 2021, London: The UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) is calling on the Government, policy makers, academics and citizens to adopt a brave and bold approach to shared prosperity by placing livelihood security and people-led policymaking at the heart of COVID-19 recovery planning and the levelling-up agenda.

In a new report, ‘Rebuilding Prosperity: A Report for Change’, the Institute challenges the traditional models of policy making, prosperity and growth, arguing that rebuilding prosperity in the wake of COVID requires not just radical, brave economic and social policy on a scale not seen since the 1942 Beveridge Report, but an actual redefinition of prosperity and policy-making.

The IGP’s call follows an extensive six-year research programme, conducted in partnership with citizen scientists and local communities in East London. The research looked at what prosperity means in the 21st Century, the ‘giant evils’ that prevent people living prosperous and fulfilling lives and how community led policy-making can shape effective and sustainable place-based prosperity.

Central to the approach is the Institute’s pioneering development of the UK’s first citizen-led Prosperity Index, a new methodology for defining, measuring and acting to create shared prosperity.

The new index is based on the theory that by sharing knowledge and trying radical new approaches, more innovative policy options that are targeted to specific local communities and effective at improving quality of life will open up. By understanding the factors and assets that form the complex structure of prosperity, the IGP believes that policy makers will be better placed to map successful pathways to prosperity for different places.

The Institute’s Rebuilding Prosperity Report also calls for an economy of belonging that delivers secure livelihoods for all, and a reimagining of Universal Basic Services – a 21st Century welfare state - that can defeat the modern day giants on the post-COVID road to reconstruction.

The ground-breaking report comes as the UK faces a triple threat of global recession, a rapidly degrading environment, and enduring inequalities widened further by the COVID pandemic. In offering up a radically different approach to prosperity, the work of the IGP provides a Beveridge-like blueprint that can overcome the barriers on the road to recovery, stem the decline in civic and political participation and level-up the UK.

IGP Director, Dame Professor Henrietta Moore, commented: “We cannot rebuild prosperity in the 21st Century with thinking born in the early 20th Century. The established orthodoxies for growth and prosperity have failed in their policy aims and failed the people they aim to help.

“Now is the time to rebuild prosperity for the 21st Century and our report gives politicians at every level of Government the foundations to achieve that.

“In the wake of the Spring 2021 Budget which, as we expected, failed to deliver the kind of vision and commitment the UK so desperately needs, we are calling on all citizens to be bold and imaginative about the future we want to. The UK needs a new conversation for change, and we are asking Government, policy makers and stakeholders, academics and citizens to join us in that conversation and make prosperity for all a reality.”

Read the Rebuilding Prosperity Campaign report (pdf)

You can find campaign reports, working papers and summaries in our resources section

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