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Full speed ahead: connecting our cities and regions

The Smith Institute and PwC

Published June 2015

The ability to move efficiently, conveniently and reliably from place to place is something we all demand. We rely on our transport system to get us from A to B and to provide us with the goods and services we need. However, the transport system is under immense strain. Traffic congestion has increased and capacity on major rail routes is stretched. The problems are expected to get worse as demand increases, especially in our major cities and their surrounding hinterlands. The solutions are neither quick nor cheap, but as this Talking Points report makes clear, failure to invest in a more integrated and better connected transport network will leave UK plc at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

To find out more about the scale of the issue, and explore what can be done to improve connectivity between our cities and regions, the Smith Institute and PwC ran a series of roundtables in five major cities to hear the views of transport practitioners, experts and decision makers from the cities and city-regions themselves.

These views are captured in this Talking Points publication. It offers a snapshot of current opinion and, most importantly, makes suggestions as to what could be done to improve connectivity within and between the UK’s cities and regions.

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Red alert: why Labour lost and what needs to change

By Paul Hunter

Published July 2015

This new report places the spotlight on why Labour lost the election and what might need to change. The report highlights which seats Labour lost, who turned their back on Labour and what issues the party was weakest on. It also sets out what some of the policy implications of the defeat might be, not least in regard to age, class and place.

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Delivering growth: Where next for Local Enterprise Partnerships?

The Smith Institute and PwC

Published June 2015

Against the backdrop of political change and economic recovery, this ‘Talking Points’ report puts the spotlight on “where next” for the 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England. By capturing the views of LEP representatives and their partners the intention is to identify a common agenda and inform and stimulate the debate about the future of the LEPs.

Based on 22 interviews with LEP leaders it highlights the main priorities and obstacles facing the LEPs over the next five years, in particular around their capacity and capability to deliver on their ambitions. 

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Working together – thinking alike: What do councils and local enterprise partnerships expect from housing associations?

By Andrew Heywood

Published June 2015

This new report places the spotlight on fast changing the relationship between local authorities and housing associations, which is increasingly under strain. Welfare reform, reductions in housing grant and plans to extend Right to Buy mean historic relationships between housing associations and local authorities must change if they are to continue to effectively support their communities and build much-needed affordable homes. The report sets out recommendations on how to strengthen the relationship with local authorities and how to build new ones with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

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Who governs Britain – a profile of MPs in the 2015 parliament

By Paul Hunter and Dan Holden

Published May 2015

What is the background of the MPs in the new Parliament? What is their education and occupational profile, gender and age? And, how have these trends changed since 2010? This analysis of MPs in the 2015 Parliament addresses these questions and shows how far our elected politicians reflect wider society. Click here to view

Healthcare – the next five years

Michelle Mitchell, Anita Charlesworth, Mike Birtwistle, Kieran Brett, Dr Charlotte Augst, Professor Gabriel Scally, Tom Wright, Heléna Herklots, Julie Wood, Rick Stern, Rob Webster, Richard Murray, Gillian Fawcett, Christopher Ridley OBE. Edited by Michelle Mitchell

Published March 2015. Price £9.99

In this timely and important report leading experts from the health world set out their views on what needs to change to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS. With the challenges of austerity, an ageing society and more expensive treatment the authors add their thoughts to the on-going debate on prevention, integration and funding.

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Joining the dots - making healthcare work better for the local economy

Professor Sarah Curtis, David Buck, Joni Jabbal, Professor Dame Carol Black, Christopher Pope, Dr Tim G Townshend, Professor Rose Gilroy, Ann Schofield, Pamela J Chesters and Eugene Milne. Edited by Professor Rose Gilroy and Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones.

Published February 2015. Price £9.99

This timely collection of essays addresses the connections between healthcare, planning and economic development. Better integration of the new planning and healthcare systems is seen as critical to creating prosperous and sustainable communities. According to the 2010 Marmot Review there is not only a strong social justice case for reducing health inequalities, but also a compelling economic case. Failing to plan for growth and for an ageing society carries a huge cost to the nation. Furthermore, local councils are taking more of a place-based approach to improving health and wellbeing, with a renewed emphasis on preventative action and integration between health, planning, housing, transport, and economic development. The book features contributions from leading policy makers and practitioners who set out what is and can be done to make healthcare work better for the local economy.

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The local double dividend: securing economic and social success

A Smith Institute ‘policy in the making’ discussion paper by Neil McInroy and Matthew Jackson, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)

Published February 2015

This new discussion paper makes the case that devolution offers the chance to tackle poverty and inequality by doing things differently – but current thinking may lead us towards the same mistakes. The authors argue that With a national economic model which seems incapable of dealing with poverty and inequality, there is a chance that a fresh action by cities and local government can get to the roots causes of weak local economies and social exclusion. The report argues a ‘Double Dividend’ approach is required in which both economic and social success are seen as intrinsic to local prosperity. Social outcomes such as decent wages, and enduring social institutions, are key to an area’s sustainable economic success but are too often seen as a barrier to growth. 

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Are housing associations ready for an ageing population?

By Martin Wheatley

Published January 2015

This new report questions whether housing associations are ready for the challenges presented by our ageing population. The report addresses the future housing needs of older people and the role of housing associations in providing supported accommodation and care. It examines these challenges over the medium term investment horizon to the 2030s. In particular, it explores what the older population will be like at that time, what housing association boards should be thinking about now, and what the sector and government need to do to realise the opportunities and manage the risks associated with older people’s housing. The report also considers how the links between housing, health and social care can be improved, and asks if housing providers understand the expectations and aspirations of their tenants as they grow older.

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Wealth of our nation: rethinking policies for wealth distribution

By Ashwin Kumar, Kitty Ussher and Paul Hunter

Published October 2014

This paper explores the implications for public policy from the new Office of National Statistics (ONS) data source on wealth distribution in Britain, and what we know about future trends in savings, longevity, property prices and inheritance.

The case for having a greater policy emphasis on wealth - as opposed to simply focussing on income - is that a household’s wealth at a given point in time is often a better indicator of its economic wellbeing. The ONS has now made this point explicitly, stating in July 2014, that “it is important to consider both wealth and income when assessing the economic well-being of households”. Yet the policy implications are under-explored.

Using the relatively recent data source the paper describes the current distribution of assets in Britain. It then explores how this might be expected to change in future years given what we know about longevity, inheritance patterns and other demographic and policy changes. Finally we draw out implications for the public policy debate focussing primarily on intergenerational transfers including inheritance, as well as issues relating to housing and consumer debt.

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