The CBI who are holding their annual conference in the Port of Tyne has said parts of the UK has been neglected for many decades.
Director general Tony Danker said economic growth across the UK will depend on whether or not the government’s levelling up agenda will be successful.
Cluster of economic activity must be created or built on as the UK has had to live with the consequences of offering little more than “benign neglect.”
Danker told the conference, “What the UK needs to really level up is economic growth in every place. Growth that in turn provides better-paid jobs, skilled work, firm-level success and that creates the kind of virtuous circle that really helps a place to prosper.
“The truth is that the UK long suffered from de-industrialisation. Since the 1980s, we let old industries die – offering little more than benign neglect for what got left behind – it was an economic policy that was at best ambivalent about levelling down.
“Too relaxed about a brain drain as young people leave home to chase better wages and jobs. Wages higher in the South than the North. Multinational corporations overwhelmingly located in the South East where new industries thrived. Shuttered high streets in towns and cities left behind.
“We have spent decades living with these consequences. But now we’ve got a shot at redemption, a chance to regenerate with nascent industries, such as biotech, space and cybersecurity, emerging in all parts of the country.
“Even more so with net zero, which creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the UK’s industrial heartlands to lead in this new industrial revolution as they did the last. Hydrogen. Offshore wind. Carbon capture. Electric vehicles and batteries, and other net-zero solutions.