The CBI will today tell ministers that levelling up cannot be left to the free market, with regions suffering from decades of a “benign neglect” that has left the country with a “branch-line economy” where too many companies are centred on London and the south-east.
Speaking in Port of Tyne at the start of the business group’s three-day annual conference, the CBI director general, Tony Danker, will argue the UK now has a “shot at redemption” if the high-quality jobs needed to move the economy towards net zero are created in former industrial heartlands.
“Simply saying the market will fix this is not good enough,” Danker will say. “There are free-marketeers in the debate who say government should never play an active role like this. But I don’t know a country in the world – including, and indeed especially, the United States – where governments aren’t active in economic geography.”