The final report by the UK2070 Commission into city and regional inequalities in the UK draws on work by Professor Duncan Maclennan, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow and Policy Scotland associate, and Dr Linda Christie, Research Associate with Policy Scotland.
The commission, chaired by Lord Kerslake, the former Head of the UK Civil Service, issued its final report entitled Make No Little Plans – Acting At Scale For A Fairer And Stronger Future on 27 February 2020. It warns that there need to be significant changes in policy if the government is to arrest further economic decline and social division in the UK.
One of the areas of review is housing and the on-going housing crisis.
The report contains a 10-point action programme to build a fairer and stronger society, one of which is the need to tackle the housing crisis by “Recognising housing as part of national infrastructure and ensuring that supply of new housing meets the needs of the economy.” It states that “Housing policy in the UK needs a change of vision and underlying principles to be effective with a focus on the outcomes rather than the processes of policies.”
To support this change, the report contains “key policy propositions for ensuring that housing policies contribute to levelling up regional productivity and inclusion in the UK” These propositions are adapted from a discussion paper produced for the UK2070 Commission called Rebalancing Britain: Housing for Growth and Inclusion, by Professor Maclennan and Dr Linda Christie, from the University of Glasgow, and Dr Julie T. Miao from the University of Melbourne. The propositions identify areas for policy change at the national level and at the metropolitan level.
The report identifies the key implications, in relation to the UK2070 Agenda, as:
- There is a need for intergovernmental collaboration on key issues because of the linkages in housing markets;
- Housing investment should be part of an integrated metropolitan infrastructure plan, and spatial plans and investment plans must become two sides of the same coin with spatial plans accompanied by a firm infrastructure plan for the locality involved (thus reducing infrastructure induced delays and raising possibilities for securing land value uplifts for public purposes);
- A strong case needs to be made for the devolution of housing policies downwards from Westminster to the devolved regions; and
- Housing policies should be designed and delivered at a metropolitan scale through inclusive processes that link city and suburb and regional towns, and open partnership between councillors, key leaders from non-profit organisations and the private sector involved in decision taking.
Professor Maclennan also delivered a paper at the UK2070 National Symposium held in June 2019, on the Scottish Perspective. The symposium – entitled Facing up to Inequalities across the UK – heard speakers from all parts of the United Kingdom call for fundamental changes to address long-standing and deep-rooted inequalities throughout the country.