In a country transformed by COVID-19, Brexit and the global upheaval to supply chains and industry caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, it is crucial to explore the opportunities ahead for us to redesign the current outdated model of our high streets, where crisis has been mounting for decades. Approaching these challenges and seizing upon opportunities must start with the question, “what does the future of the UK’s towns and cities look like?”.
This workstream will seek to devise policy solutions to provide local government in the UK with the tools it needs as convener and master-planner of local centres, cutting across issue areas like new ways of work, infrastructure innovation, transport, business and access.
In Q4 2020 there was a 13.7% high street vacancy rate and a 17.3% shopping centre vacancy rate. The early months of 2021 saw a 68.3% year-on-year decline in high street footfall and a 4.9% decline in retail sales volume. In January 2021, the proportion of money spent online was 35.2%, the highest on record. […]
Taking back control was always meant to mean more than just transferring power from Brussels to Whitehall. Delivering the promise was meant to mean placing empowered communities at the country’s constitutional core. Localism has the potential to deliver real democratic accountability, but only if done in a way that delivers real power to people. To […]
The relationship between the levelling up agenda and London has been the subject of intense scrutiny, both inside and outside of the city. The Local London subregion – comprising the boroughs in East and North East London – presents a clear problematisation of the often-presented view of London as a universally prosperous economic monolith. Local London and […]
Ahead of COP 26, government departments have been commissioned across Whitehall to inform the cross-government Net Zero Strategy that, amongst other things, will detail plans for decarbonisation across key sectors of the economy. One of the most significant challenges in reaching net zero is the need to retrofit the nation’s housing stock and increase energy […]
There is perhaps no greater issue driving division in British politics than the serious gap between aspirations for home ownership and the malign effects of constrained supply. This situation, in which we don’t build or supply enough affordable homes in places where people not only just wish, but need to live, is the unhappy reality […]
The Plan for Growth, released in March 2021, is the UK government’s new plan setting out its view on how to recover from the pandemic through ‘building back better’ and ‘levelling up’ across the UK. It sets out government objectives to ‘support economic growth through investment in infrastructure, skills, and innovation’. And serves as a […]
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the resilience and strength of England’s local government in keeping our communities safe. Equally, the ongoing socio-economic consequences demonstrate the need for strong place-based leadership and governance at the right level to help our recovery. This is especially true for Oxford, one of our country’s leading cities and one that […]
Writing in 1912, Hilaire Belloc warned: “change your hearts or you will lose your inns and you will deserve to have lost them”. Should such a calamity unfold, Belloc added that “you will have lost the last of England”. The Power of Pubs looks at the attempts made in 2020 by the UK government to […]
The rhetoric of digitisation pervades the contemporary political conversation. Smart devices, connected in smart homes, connected in smart cities give policymakers ever better information on which to base decisions. At the same time, the UK’s Road to Zero and its equivalents abroad present a future of carbon-neutral countries producing zero emissions. Smart Cities: Fair investment […]