A major theme in post-Brexit Britain is @BorisJohnson 's pledge to "level-up" regions & communities that were left behind. Conservatives cannot retain power unless they deliver. @Keir_Starmer cannot return Labour to power unless he sets out credible alternative [Thread]
But it remains poorly defined & understood. What do we mean by levelling-up? How can we measure whether areas are improving or deteriorating? How can citizens, communities & councils hold gvt to account? How can policymakers identify what is working vs what is not?
We @LegatumInst have been exploring these issues for past few months & working with lots of councils, policymakers, academics & stakeholders to build the UK Prosperity Index -a tool that we think can help gvt, councils & citizens get to grips with levelling-up
I suspect like many of you we support agenda but don't think levelling-up is working v well at moment. It is too narrowly defined & detached from evidence. Is mainly focused on things like infrastructure, 'bridges & trains', sending gvt departments north and is very 'top down'
We adopt a broader definition of levelling-up. We suggest true prosperity or a 'levelled up' community is where 3 things happen

(1) ppl live in "inclusive societies" that are supported by stable families, social capital and public trust in local institutions that are effective
(2) ppl live in "open economies" that are supported by high quality infrastructure, strong local investment environments & enterprise conditions for businesses, effective regulations and where entrepreneurs & firms can level-up from ground up
(3) communities have "empowered people" who can take control over their own lives, have strong mental & physical well-being, effective healthcare & education systems and healthy natural environments
Organising levelling-up around these themes has allowed us to draw together a large amount of rich, reliable and open source data at the local authority level, from about 70 datasets, on nearly 400 councils across UK. It yields useful insights in about 50 policy-relevant areas
No index is ever perfect but drawing on data from 2011 onwards and then updating regularly does allow us to begin exploring how/if at all areas are changing, compare them, generate hypotheses, identify areas getting things right (& why)
We can begin to get a sense of how regions are performing across multiple areas of prosperity relative to others, identifying policy challenges that are unique to regions to inform future research. Here you can see where specific regions are struggling in specific areas Image
We can zoom in to distinctive 'clusters' that share similar characteristics & policy challenges, e.g. Red Wall. 35 of 43 areas in Red Wall are in bottom half of rankings. But we can build far more nuanced pic. It has been great to be working with them to explore findings Image
One interesting aspect of Red Wall is that while we mainly talking about it in terms of infrastructure that is really not its main challenge. It is really adult skills, health, finance for businesses, fraying social capital & governance
E.g. if you live in Red Wall small businesses borrow less than elsewhere, lower business start-up rates, lower venture capital, lower adult skills, much poorer health, higher crime, lots of things we talk less about. There are some exceptions which highlight best practice
If you work in policy, local government, politics, research and are interested in hearing more about the UK Prosperity Index there is a slide deck here with more information & we have a series of events throughout autumn
There is also a short video of some key findings here
And we would love to hear from you. We have already had some helpful suggestions on refining the Index so I will take this opportunity to give thanks for those. Here are our contact details. Best wishes, Matt Image

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More from @GoodwinMJ

11 Jun
New study confirms the last 5 years on Twitter. Labour voters & Remainers considerably more likely to distance themselves from people who hold different ideological views & to voice hostility toward them. Conservatives, Leavers less likely to do so.
Read 4 tweets
5 Mar
A 25-point lead for Conservatives among working-class; Conservatives 52%, Labour 27%. Today's YouGov.
London breaks 44 versus 34 for Labour. Southern England breaks 51 versus 29 for Conservatives.
Same old problem for Labour as 2019. 71% of Leavers rally round Conservatives, 47% Remainers rally around Labour
Read 5 tweets
18 Oct 20
A short thread. Many institutions adopt an imbalanced or ‘asymmetric’ approach to diversity & inclusion. They focus overwhelmingly, & increasingly, on race/ethnicity, which is often seen as the only relevant variable.
This is entirely understandable given historic injustices but it also comes with costs; we are overlooking other social problems in society. We need to broaden rather than narrow our view.
One of those is white working-class children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are already falling behind their peers at age 5 … less likely to get good GCSEs … and less likely than every other group to make it to university (evidence -> bit.ly/3o4INWz).
Read 14 tweets
23 Jul 20
Woke-ism is a minority support

Support for footballers "taking the knee"? 37%
Support for removal of statues linked to slavery? 27%
BLM protests shd have gone ahead during crisis? 21%
Support protestors damaging/removing statues? 13%

YouGov July 16
3 points in reply to discussion about results. 1/ my ref to 'woke' politics is reference to what we might otherwise call identity liberalism/'the great awokening' debate in US e.g. see Atlantic on 'woke capitalism', Pres Obama on 'woke stuff', etc. Not derogatory.
2/ What I'm pointing to here is level of 'positive, instrumental change' for what are radical actions (e.g. pulling down statues). I've stripped out don't knows/oppose/don't care etc. Why? Because I want to get sense of core 'active' support for actions that impact on majority
Read 5 tweets
16 Jul 20
Racism has been falling in Britain not rising. Every major 'gold standard' survey shows that levels of racial prejudice have been in decline since the 1980s. On the whole, this is a tolerant, welcoming and remarkably peaceful country #HasBritainChanged
Support for relationships between different ethnic/racial groups has rocketed since the 1980s #HasBritainChanged
Typically, over 90% of Brits have 'no issue' with relationships/marriages between members of different groups. In 1980s more than half did #HasBritainChanged
Read 5 tweets
16 Jun 20
Munira Mirza is interested in data and evidence. That is why critical race theorists are hostile -- they are being asked to provide evidence for their ideological claims.
In UK the relationship between race & disadvantage is FAR more complex than some suggest. For e.g., minorities shd not be treated as uniform group, lots of positive trends at work, disadvantage in diff spheres cuts across diff groups in diff ways, need nuance & data-led policy
My view is that if there is to be a new commission or study of racial inequality in UK then it shd include ppl who prioritise evidence. There is a middle way through but trying to shout down somebody simply because they question existing narratives is not the way forward imo.
Read 4 tweets

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