From education to employment

Gordon Brown’s Commission on the UK’s Future aims to correct regional inequalities

Gordon Brown’s Commission on the UK’s Future

Labour will consult on replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber as part of a 40-point plan written by Gordon Brown.

The plans were unveiled at a press conference in Leeds on Monday morning by Brown and Labour leader Keir Starmer.

The party said its centrepiece would involve mass transfer of power from Westminster to the people and their local areas, with Starmer saying “the centre hasn’t delivered”.

Here are some of the key recommendations from the panel: 

A new culture of co-operation between the UK Government and devolved nations

New, legally-mandated “councils of the nations and regions and of England” will replace the present joint ministerial committees.

The new bodies would include not just devolved administrations but local leaders from within England, to prevent the Government treating communities in a “high-handed way”.

Abolish the House of Lords

The commission proposed replacing the unelected upper chamber with a “smaller, more representative and democratic” assembly of the nations and regions, although details would be matters for further consultation.

Clean up politics

The panel has proposed new rules for politicians and civil servants, clamping down on MPs’ second jobs and a “powerful” anti-corruption commissioner to root out criminal behaviour in British political life.

Create a ‘New Britain’

The commission has floated rebalancing the economy to drive up living standards in some of the most deprived areas and giving more local control over decision-making

The panel has called for a new constitutional law setting out how political power should be shared, with a requirement for decisions to be taken “as close as meaningfully possible” to the people affected by them.

There would be an explicit requirement to rebalance the economy to spread prosperity and investment more equally across the UK.

The right to healthcare based on need rather than ability to pay would be enshrined in a set of protected social rights.

Creating new regional industrial clusters

Towns, cities and other areas would be brought together as part of a co-ordinated economic strategy.

Mayors and local leaders would play a key role in shaping the plans, with the UK Infrastructure Bank and a British Regional Investment Bank (a rebadged British Business Bank) supporting investment.

Some 50,000 civil service jobs would be transferred out of London.

Sector Response

Zoë Billingham, director of IPPR North said: 

“It is a breath of fresh air that there is now a broad political consensus that regional growth is our route back to national prosperity.

“Today’s report from the Commission on the UK’s Future, led by Gordon Brown, goes well beyond what has been proposed to date by committing to building both wealth and power in all parts of the country whilst also proposing rights and protections to support the continued transfer of power to our regions.

“We need a clear and irreversible shift in wealth, power and opportunity to correct our woeful regional inequalities. This is what the public wants and expect and it is the path back to national prosperity. We look forward to further contributing to the next phase of this critical work.”

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