Legal & General to launch Rebuilding Britain Index as early findings point to “K-shaped” recovery

New research based on 5,000 UK households will combine 50 measures with survey data to monitor the progress of “levelling up” and “build back better”. Pandemic effects are widening household and regional disparities in quality of life, heightening the urgency of government initiatives to catalyse investment

  • The prospect of a K-shaped COVID recovery, where some bounce back but others don’t, is highlighted with one-in-five (20%) UK adults feeling their quality of life is getting worse while one-in-three (34%) feel that the quality of life in their local area is improving
  • Only one-in-five UK adults feel that economic opportunity (21%) and public sector investment (22%) is spread equally across the UK
  • The findings reveal wide regional variations in economic opportunities with London powering ahead – North East and North West England are most likely to see falls in people’s quality of living

The findings are taken from the imminent launch of the Legal & General Rebuilding Britain Index - a new index that tracks social and economic progress across the whole of the UK, using a combination of statistical data and community opinion spanning 50 individual measures that cover health & social care, education, housing, jobs & economic prosperity, environment, energy, transport and digital. Legal & General will survey 20,000 people over the course of 2021 to identify whether the UK is building back better and the extent to which this is driving a levelling up across the regions and local areas of the UK.

The UK government faces a major challenge in convincing local communities who feel left behind. The legacy of under-investment and over-centralisation over many decades means that many believe economic opportunity is unevenly spread across the regions and nations of the UK.

L&G’s initial findings reveal that those in London (43%) and the West Midlands (40%) are the most likely to perceive improvements in their local area, while the North West and North East of England are the most likely to feel there is a decline (24% and 26% respectively).

From ten years of practicing Inclusive Capitalism, we know that levelling up and building back better have never been more important. The unintended consequence of the pandemic has been more inequality, coupled with an increased probability of a K-shaped recovery. This has added new urgency and made the need for Inclusive Capitalism even more pressing. As both business and Government look to encourage a UK-wide bounce back, it is now imperative we set out a clear vision and policies which support those in areas feeling further left behind.

Our experience from investing £26bn across the UK tells us that rapid progress will require a new approach which mobilises communities through local government, universities, schools, health trusts, employers, and property developers.  This new Index will help inform us what works, and where.  City and regional deals play an important role in fostering localism: levelling up cannot be organised top-down from Whitehall alone.  Local communities need to be given the right powers and necessary funding to ensure that investment is being put to use where it is most required.

Nigel Wilson, CEO at Legal & General

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