As part of a new series on 'levelling up' we take a look at proposals from experts in the field on their take as to what it means and how business can play its part. We begin with the following article by David Oldfield, Group Director of Lloyds Commercial Banking on the main priorities which he believes the Bank can play in helping to bring about the kind of transformation to our regional economies we all wish to see.
He argues that a successful policy will need to bridge the gap between a commitment to local development through investment in skills, training and infrastructure on the one hand and a sustainable environmental agenda on the other. Striking that balance will hold the key to any successful, long term, nationwide regeneration programme and co-operation therefore between policy-makers and practitioners in helping bring this about will be critical:
"Collaboration should underpin everything the UK does. Finance, business, industry, government, housing, healthcare, transport and education all rely on each other. Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking supports businesses of all sizes and has a presence in nearly every community, making us well placed to act as a facilitator between all these sectors.
We see our role not just as a source and strategic distributor of investment, but as active contributors to identifying local solutions. We want to make the UK more productive and prosperous and know that we don’t have all the answers. While we have numerous initiatives in place, including digital skills workshops and specialist and dedicated lending schemes, we know that engagement with local and national policymakers will be key to identifying the solutions required at a national and local level.
What does regional development actually look like?
"Firstly, there’s the creation of higher-skilled jobs and a positive environment for business that encourages investment and innovation. Secondly, it’s a steady and reliable supply of local housing infrastructure as well as community and cultural assets, good transport and telecommunications links. And, finally, it includes environmental sustainability.
All these matter, and all of them support each other to create great places. We want to engage with local communities, because who better understands their needs than the people in these places themselves? For too long, too many regions and nations across the UK have been overlooked and underdeveloped. Through our national team of over 1,100 business specialists we are committed to both convening with local partners to develop these responses and financing the plans to meet them."
The full article can be read beneath: