The IEA is delighted to announce the launch of the fourth Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize, with Dehenna Davison, Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland, on the judging panel.
In economic terms, the UK is two countries. On the one hand we have a prosperous enclave in London and the South East, with a high performing economy that compares favourably on measures such as GVA per person with the richest parts of Northern Europe.
But many towns and communities have witnessed decades of decline – made worse by the pandemic. They suffer from deep-seated problems, such as failing businesses, boarded up high streets, unemployment, and poor housing.
What can be done to re-energise these areas? What would it take to make them thrive?
The Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize 2020/21 is looking for answers. The topic of each year’s essay question is formulated in conjunction with a prominent British MP, who identifies a policy area which they passionately believe is in need of new ideas.
The 2020/21 question, developed in collaboration with Dehenna Davison MP, is, “In the current severe economic climate, what pro-market, pro-enterprise policy would be the best way of supercharging growth, employment and living standards in ‘left behind’ Britain?”
That policy must be both politically possible and compatible with a free market society.
Once again, the competition carries a first prize of £50,000 – plus additional prizes for highly commended entrants and students. And the winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony in central London, which will take place – pandemic permitting – next summer.
It’s the chance to win one of the biggest prizes of its kind – and the chance to have a significant impact on one of today’s major issues.
Commenting on the launch of the competition, Dehenna Davison, Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland, said, “The Breakthrough Prize is a fantastic opportunity to influence one of the key political challenges our country faces – as well as winning a great prize. We have an exciting opportunity to promote pro-market ideas, especially on the Government’s plan for the Covid recovery, and I can’t wait to see the ideas brought forward.”
Richard Koch, Businessman, Author and Sponsor of the Prize said, “Some policymakers are resigned to a North-South divide. They view it as inevitable – particularly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. I disagree.
“We can reverse the fortunes of our broken cities and regions. We can find ways to transform them into prosperous hubs replete with high wage, high productivity jobs.
“My Breakthrough Prize, now in its fourth year, could provide an important starting point for popular ideas to supercharge growth, employment and living standards in those ‘left behind’ areas.
“I’m looking for new, exciting, and radical free-market ways to tackle this burning issue – and I am optimistic that, as with previous years, we will find them.”
Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs added,“Successive governments over the last few decades have failed to come up with effective solutions. This has manifested itself in repeated attempts to subsidise low-productivity industries – from car plants to the nuclear industry, Concorde, steel or shipbuilding.
“The Breakthrough Prize is a timely and important contribution to healing the growing economic divergence between different parts of the country, and to resolving an issue that is vital for our prosperity and society.”