RPF insights East Anglia: devolution is the key

Our Regional Productivity Forum leads discussed how focus on strategy and digital skills as well as more devolution were the keys to being successful in 2021 and beyond at our online business conference held in June 2021.

Alex Plant is Director of Strategy and Regulation at Anglian Water and Chair of the East Anglia Productivity Forum. He took part in the panel debate asking what UK companies could do to thrive in the post-pandemic, post-Brexit era.

Alex said there were three issues surrounding the question of how businesses survive regional disparities across the UK – knowledge, integrated adaptation and mitigation to climate change, and genuine devolution. He said a more tailored response was needed to address the barriers to productivity in functional economic geographies across the country.

Drive Innovation

In a poll, we asked our conference audience what was the top priority for businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic UK. Drive innovation was the top answer followed closely by improving the skills of the workforce.

Conference poll: business priority

The panel observed they all had different views on what the top priority should be because each of their regions had different priorities, issues and communities.

“Devolution and tailoring things to the particular needs of a region is a critical point, I think, in what we need to do to get to through this work,” said Alex.

“We need to get a bit more surgical and understand what we’re doing at the regional level and that must mean devolution of powers and funding.”

You can hear more from Alex Plant and businesses in East Anglia by watching the full panel discussion here: