Only a quarter of people across the UK (24%) agree that local investment is having a noticeable impact where it is needed most, underlining the importance of scaling up and accelerating developments across the country.
The index shows that there is a long way to go to rebuild the British economy and level the regions. In particular, more investment is needed to provide affordable housing and better job opportunities.
The RBI was set up to measure the UK’s leveling progress on a quarterly basis, surveying 20,000 people and tracking social and economic progress across 52 measures including health and social care, education, housing, employment and economic prosperity, environment, energy, transport. and digital.
In the second quarter of 2021, the index remained stable at 64/100 despite positive GDP growth in recent months and the announcement of several large investments that will improve economic growth opportunities. These have included investments such as Legal & General’s new £1.5bn innovation district, ID Manchester, and its major urban regeneration scheme on Bristol Temple Island, together creating 12,000 new jobs. over the next 15 years.
Due to the time needed to put in place major programs, unemployment and income measures remain weak, with the Jobs and Economic Prosperity score remaining at 60/100.
Elsewhere, the Housing Index score (which measures the ease of access to quality and affordable housing) fell slightly to 59/100, meaning it is now the worst performing measure of the index. With the latest Land Registry data showing that house prices remain up 8.9% from 2020 and housing construction activity remains depressed, so are house prices (as a proportion of average incomes) and perceived access to affordable, quality starter homes that score worst on the index. .
According to Legal & General, the latest data suggests that communities remain economically cautious as the UK emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic and it will take time for investment and major new projects to be felt locally.
Nigel Wilson, Managing Director of Legal & General, comments: “Building back better will not happen overnight. And with movement restrictions and social distancing underway, it is perhaps unsurprising to see the index holding steady in the second quarter of 2021.”
“GDP has improved and several large-scale investments have been announced, including Vauxhall’s announcement to produce electric vans at Ellesmere Port and Nissan’s commitment to battery production in Sunderland.”
He adds: “Legal & General has also made significant commitments this year, including a new £1.5billion innovation district in Manchester to create thousands of jobs and a £1.5billion development. sterling in North Horsham, offering thousands of low-cost homes, alongside a new school for 1,600 pupils. But despite this, we see no change in the sentiment of the community.
Wilson says the longer we wait before proposing other major projects, the greater the risk that existing inequalities between and within communities will worsen.
“As we begin the long road to recovery, it is up to all businesses and government to step up and invest in growth opportunities. As the economy continues to unblock, our ability to begin to seize these opportunities will be too,” he concludes.