Last edited 13 Oct 2015

Going for growth, Reviewing the Effectiveness of Government Growth Initiatives

On 17 November 2014, Going for growth, Reviewing the Effectiveness of Government Growth Initiatives was published by the All Party Urban Development Group (UPADG) in collaboration with the British Property Federation (BPF) and Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NPL).

The All Party Urban Development Group is a cross-party group of MPs and Peers established to ‘…ensure the progression of urban renewal and sustainable development in the UK and raise, within Parliament and outside bodies, the profile and understanding of the regeneration process and the role that can be played by the private sector, particularly the property investment community.’

The report suggests that, ‘Urban development plays a vital role in stimulating and supporting economic growth. Aside from the direct economic benefits of construction, the creation of new offices, warehouses, retail space, infrastructure and homes in an area provides the platform for virtually all other business activity. The close relationship between property development and economic growth means that the extent to which Government growth initiatives have proven effective at getting stalled but potentially viable development projects off the ground is a key question for policy makers.’

The report assesses how policies such as new funding streams, and structures such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP), have stimulated development and urges a continued focus on growth. It proposes that the next government should extend devolution to the UK’s cities and regions, making local authorities and strategic areas responsible for a wider range of priorities.

It highlights the need for better coordination and evaluation of growth initiatives, and suggests existing initiatives need to remain in place to allow them to have the desired long-term impact, rather than being continuously scrapped and replaced before they have had time to bed in.

The recommendations include:

  • Improving coordination and evaluation across the range of initiatives.
  • Improving the offer in Enterprise Zones and gearing it more closely to local conditions.
  • Using tax increment financing more constructively.
  • Reducing the deterrent to development posed by empty rates.
  • Taking the devolution of powers to cities much further.
  • Giving Local Enterprise Partnerships long-term certainty.
  • Expanding the role of the Growing Places Fund in supporting local infrastructure projects.
  • Improving the effectiveness of the Regional Growth Fund.
  • Implementing City Deals in a flexible way.
  • Overcoming other barriers to growth.

MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Urban Development, Paul Uppal said, “This Government has aimed to secure the economic future of the UK through pro-growth policies, and by supporting businesses by offering competitive levels of taxation, unlocking investment and financing infrastructure spending. Governments can always learn, and as we look beyond 2015 this report gives a vital insight into what has succeeded and how we can build and improve upon the growth initiatives this Government has put in place.”

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