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Group Chief Executive
“Long-term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do” – these were the words spoken by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, as he highlighted part of the Government’s post-Covid-19 recovery plan. At Legal & General, we feel that as investors we have a responsibility to help the Government build back better, and believe that the right investments can help create a more inclusive post-pandemic society.
We don’t take this responsibility lightly. We’ve already invested £1.5 billion since the first lockdown, but we know there’s more we can do. So we’ve launched the Rebuilding Britain Index (RBI), a unique, quarterly, community-led index that encompasses the themes around the Government’s levelling-up agenda and will act as the benchmark in identifying the UK’s investment priorities, regional investment gaps and barriers to increasing investment, focusing on society’s social, economic and environmental needs.
It’s the first index of this scale and, in collaboration with Cicero, will survey 20,000 people over the course of 2021. It will seek to answer three questions:
Crucially, it will give weight to the views of UK citizens, capturing insights at a local level and building a holistic picture of society. Initial research based on 5,000 UK households is pointing to a K-shaped Covid recovery (where different parts of the economy recover at different times), already showing a geographical gap between the areas where people feel their quality of life is improving and where it is declining. The initial findings, for example, reveal that those in London (43%) and the West Midlands (40%) are the most likely to perceive improvements in their local area, while the North West and North East of England are the most likely to feel there is a decline (24% and 26% respectively).
Percentage of population that believe quality of life is improving
“From 10 years of practicing Inclusive Capitalism, we know that levelling up and building back better have never been more important,” explains Nigel Wilson, Legal & General CEO. “The unintended consequence of the pandemic has been more inequality, coupled with an increased probability of a K-shaped recovery. This has added new urgency and made the need for Inclusive Capitalism even more pressing. As both business and Government look to encourage a UK-wide bounce back, it is now imperative we set out a clear vision and policies which support those in areas feeling further left behind.”
He continues: “Our experience from investing £26bn across the UK tells us that rapid progress will require a new approach which mobilises communities through local government, universities, schools, health trusts, employers, and property developers. This new Index will help inform us what works, and where. City and regional deals play an important role in fostering localism: levelling up cannot be organised top-down from Whitehall alone. Local communities need to be given the right powers and necessary funding to ensure that investment is being put to use where it is most required.”
As part of what the Government has termed its “new deal for Britain”, the Government has promised to “invest in and accelerate infrastructure across the UK [and] promote a clean, green recovery”.1 To be able to accurately measure whether this is happening – and the extent to which it is happening – the RBI will look at seven areas:
By providing transparent, multi-level analysis across these seven areas, the RBI will not only answer the question of whether the Government is actually building back better but, crucially, if the answer is ‘no’ in any given area, it will highlight which areas are lacking in investment, geographically and by sector. This will help the Government and investors – including ourselves – ensure their money is being invested in the right places at the right time. It will help “build back better” to become more than a catchphrase – it will become an action that creates the foundation for a better society.
Read more about the Rebuilding Britain Index here.