27 Mar 2014
While the national economy has returned to growth, the gap between London and the regions has widened. Smarter Regions Smarter Britain makes clear that imbalances in regional growth in England can be addressed by boosting the role of universities and recommends that the government adopts a new manifesto for the regions.
Smarter Regions Smarter Britain provides new statistics highlighting the percentage of graduates who study and work in the same region and uses new modelling from London Economics to assess the economic benefits of these graduates to the regions and the Treasury. The report concludes that there are clear links between participation in higher education and regional growth and urges the government to address the sharp regional differentials in the number of people with degree qualifications.
The manifesto calls for some of the proceeds of the student loan book to be used to incentivise flexible routes to study for a university degree, employer co-funded places and 50,000 additional postgraduate places geared towards part-time professional and industry based courses.
The report also urges the government to introduce a new stream of funding for translational research, to refocus innovation voucher and knowledge transfer partnership schemes to boost university-business collaboration and support smaller companies by establishing a Small Business Agency and ensuring that the Business Bank has a regional remit.