JRF Programme Paper
Cities, growth and poverty
MORE JOBS, BETTER
Nicky Denison, Les Newby and Victoria Gell
acts as a baseline to inform the More jobs, better jobs programme and track progress and impact over time;
synthesises existing data on trends across key economic, employment and poverty indicators in the Leeds City Region;
makes an impartial assessment of current attitudes and understanding on the economy, employment and poverty; policy, plans and commitments in place on these issues; and supporting actions being taken.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) commissioned this paper as part of its programme on cities, growth and poverty, which aims to make a practical case for how and why cities should link growth and
ISBN 978 1 90958 652 9
Page Introduction, methodology and
baseline summary scorecards 3 Growth, jobs and poverty: an
overview of the Leeds City Region data context
Attitudes and understanding 20 Plans, policies, commitments
and connections 35
Action and resources 57
Detailed methodology 76
Introduction, methodology and baseline summary
The More jobs, better jobs programme was launched in February 2014 by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region (LCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). At the heart of the programme sits a fundamental concern that as a local economy grows not all people or places within it will benefit equally. As the LCR economy begins to recover from recession, it is critical that people and places are not cut off from the prosperity and jobs that a return to growth can bring. As such, the partnership is seeking to:
better understand the relationship between poverty and the economy at a city region level;
identify what can be done, by who, at local level to create more and better jobs that help lift people and places out of poverty;
make a compelling, practical case for change on why and how cities should link growth and poverty;
make addressing poverty a more integral part of local growth strategies.
The More jobs, better jobs baseline study: scope and methodologyThe More jobs, better jobsprogramme is at the start of a four year lifespan. To deliver the above objectives, it is vital that there is an understanding of the scale of the shift needed to move to a position where poverty reduction and growth go hand in hand. The baseline study was designed to provide this starting point, to inform programme activity and track progress and impact over time. It does this by making an impartial, fair and robust critique of: current attitudes and understanding of the economy, employment and poverty; policy, plans and commitments in place on these issues; and the action and resources deployed towards them. The scope of the study therefore is to:
synthesise existing data on trends across key economic, employment and poverty indicators;
assess how these concepts – and connections between them –are understood in the city region;
identify strategic intent across LCR on this agenda, in particular by review of relevant strategy documents;
identify what practical action is already happening to link growth, jobs and poverty across LCR.
The study was carried out between March and May 2014 using the methodology set out in Table 1.
4 Table 1: More jobs, better jobs baseline methodology
Tool Attitudes and understanding: Assessment of understanding and
priority given to the economy, employment and poverty, and the nature of the links between them. Change over time noted.
Interviews Policy, plans and commitments: Identification of policies and
plans in place on the economy, employment and poverty, and light touch assessment of them. Change over time noted.
Interviews + strategy mapping Action: Identification of headline actions on economic development
and poverty, and extent to which they are connected (reflecting past policy and investment decisions), as well as headline economic budgets for the city region.
Interviews + analysis Indicators and outcomes: Analysis of economy, incomes and
poverty data to provide a quantitative basis for measuring change, and allow comparison between different areas.
Specifically, the study:
Interviewed 33 individuals weighted in the first instance towards LCR local authorities and the LEP, given their prominent strategic, funding and delivery role on these issues, alongside senior representatives from the wider public (health and further/higher education), private and third sectors in Leeds to allow intensive exploration of linkages across sectors within one local area. This was an
intentionally small sample, designed to give an initial view of the attitudes and understanding of key stakeholders and the commitment, policy and action of their organisations. All interviewees were asked whether their organisation’s position had changed in the last 12 months, to get a picture of recent trends and to allow for any influence following the public launch of the More jobs, better jobs
programme on 7 February 2014.
Undertook quantitative analysis to provide a headline overview of existing economy, jobs and poverty data to help better understand the relationship and thread that runs between these issues at a local and city region level, and to allow trend based comparison, forecasting to 2020, and give a basket of indicators to baseline and monitor change.
Mapped local area strategies and plans focused in the first instance on assessing local economic and health and wellbeing strategies, and the LCR Strategic Economic Plan and European Structural Investment Fund Strategy 2014–2020, alongside an overview of other local plans to identify the extent to which the visions, objectives, actions and indicators of the current strategic framework at a local authority and LCR level incorporate and connect the economy, jobs and poverty.
5 A scoring system was used throughout the study. In interview, individuals were
asked to self-assess particular matters on a score of 1–10 (where 10 is high). This technique was also used in the assessment of strategies and plans. The 1–10 scores are translated into a red amber/green (RAG) rating based on a percentage distribution as follows:
1–4 (or less than 50%) 5–7.4 (or 50%–74%) 7.5–10 (or 75%–100%)
Baseline summary scorecards
This report sets out the findings in full. For reference, a headline summary is presented in the two scorecards shown below. The first gives an overview of
attitudes and understanding; plans, policies and commitments in place; and actions being taken around the agendas of the economy, employment and poverty. The second gives an overview of data on trends across key economic, employment and poverty indicators in the Leeds City Region.
More jobs, better jobs baseline: summary scorecard June 2014
Attitudes and understanding Mean rating
Growth ‘fundamental to our future’ agreed by all, but meaning of ‘growth’ questioned – narrow focus on GVA simplifies more complex picture of ‘economic success’ where growth’s impact on people and places is critical.
Caveats placed on the type of growth where the ‘jury is out’ – must be sustainable, equitable, inclusive, responsive – a ‘good growth’ narrative is beginning to emerge.
Local authorities and private sector clear on their role in growth; the VCS and wider public sector less so.
Language of poverty is complex and can alienate audiences,
especially business, and make organisations question their role and responsibilities in it. There is a tension between personal views and institutional mission.
‘Good growth’ agenda can help ‘make the case’ by bringing in issues such as quality jobs, skills, progression and incomes.
Agenda on poverty is evolving – welfare reform, funding cuts and recession have sharpened focus to a narrative of self-sufficiency, resilience and employability.
In-work poverty is rising in profile and becoming part of narrative but not yet fully understood or acted upon; in addition, a national
emphasis on child poverty and young people is shaping attitudes.
Connection between growth, jobs and poverty
Scepticism on the connections that exist and the view on how growth impacts on poverty is more developed than vice versa.
Trickle down does not work notwithstanding some conscious or otherwise reliance on it; the ‘type of growth counts’, but not all places
can ‘pick and choose’.
At ‘foothills of better connecting the two’ aided by stronger evidence
base – More jobs, better jobs already helping to make the case.
Impact of growth on poverty 5.9/10 Impact of growth on poverty 5.5/10 Assessment of overall attitudes and understanding
Robust starting point of attitudes to growth and poverty individually with an emerging narrative of ‘good growth’ but much more to do to make the case for the connection and interdependencies and for a systematic joining up of the two.
Plans, policies and connections Mean rating
Stakeholder interviews: internal plans/policy
Organisations viewed connections between their own plans and policies on growth, jobs and poverty as typically no better than middling. Scores were highest in the VCS and the LEP, and lower in health and higher education organisations.
Internal connection 5.8/10
Stakeholder interviews: perceptions around the commitment and policy of others on poverty reduction
Local authorities: committed and central, but with limitations in turning vision into action.
VCS: passionate and active, but bitty and small scale.
Businesses: split between large ones that do CSR, local ones that want to ‘give back’ and others who feel it’s not their job.
LEP: focus is growth not poverty, but active on jobs/skills.
Colleges and housing associations: growing in importance.
Overall connection 5.7/10
Local authority strategy mapping: assessing economic strategy, health and wellbeing strategy and other key plans
Economic strategies: content and link on jobs and poverty are patchy. Some good practice, but not the norm, with 3 of 7 strategies making very poor links to reducing inequalities and poverty in particular.
Health and well-being strategies: usually weak on economic links, medium on jobs and good on inequalities.Wide variation.
Corporate, community and anti-poverty strategies score more highly, but the latter two can lack prominence.
Overall strategic frameworks are ‘semi-coherent’ – links are made, but not comprehensively and gaps exist. Plenty of scope to improve.
Economic strategy 5.8/10 HWB strategy 5.8/10 Connection across all 6.1/10 Assessment of overall commitment and policy
Connections between strategies and on growth, poverty and jobs are made, but they tend to be haphazard and vary greatly. There is potential for much better and more consistent linkages.
quadrant mean = 5.8
Action Mean rating
Organisations are taking a range of actions they feel are significant but insufficient in scale. Self-assessment ratings are highest in the VCS, lower in public sector health and higher education institutions.
The spread of action is very wide and spans poverty, jobs, skills and growth. Very often projects cover more than one of these bases.
There are concentrations of activity around apprenticeships, work experience and pre-employment, training and skills, the living wage, business growth/support and financial inclusion.
Projects often involve multiple partners, for instance councils, the LCR LEP, colleges, businesses and VCS organisations. But better connections can be made.
Internal action – Scale and
What more could or should be done?
Overall level of local action scores are the lowest in the survey.
All sectors think that their performance on internal action is better than the overall level of action in the local area.
Stakeholders think that more can be done, usually much more.
Lots of specific suggestions for new/more action, including on childcare, mentoring, more enterprise and apprenticeships in deprived areas and support on job applications.
But also calls for a more strategic, collaborative and ambitious approach with prioritised actions informed by sophisticated intelligence and delivered in partnership.
Is enough being done locally overall? 5.3/10
Assessment of overall action
A consensus that despite a lot of action, it is not making the required difference and that both more, and more effective, action is needed. Action spans growth, jobs and poverty, and while connections are improving, they are not yet sufficient. A more strategic, collaborative and targeted approach is needed.
quadrant mean = 5.7
Note: overview quadrant scores are means for all the questions under the relevant heading. Variation in individual question scores is averaged out in this mean. Please see detail of the report for individual scores.
Leeds city region – data scorecard
In 2013, it was estimated that the Leeds City Region economy was worth £53.1 billion (at 2008 prices) and accounted for around 4% of the UK economy. Average annual growth in GVA tracks slightly below the UK average, growing an estimated 0.8% between 2012 and 2013, compared with the UK average of 1%.
Productivity per worker rates at £43,600 in 2013 are below the UK average of £51,100, and remained static between 2010 and 2013.
In 2013, there were around 1,380,300 people across the Leeds City Region in employment, out of a total of 1,971,500 working-aged people (aged 16–64), representing 4.8% of the UK workforce.
Both the 16–64 and the 20–64 employment rates have shown improvement between 2010 and 2013, but rates remain lower than the England and UK averages.
Trend 2000 2004 2007 2010 2013 2007-10 2010-13 2010-13
LCR 41.6 43.9 45.3 43.6 43.6 -3.8 0.0 No change UK 46.9 50.5 52.6 51.5 51.1 -2.1 -0.7 Decline
Productivity per worker ('000s) % change
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
LCR 2.3 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.7 1.3 0.6 2.9 -1.5 -5.6 0.8 1.5 0.6 0.8
UK 3.5 2.3 2.1 3.7 2.5 2.3 2.1 3.5 -0.8 -5.2 1.8 1.1 0.3 1.0
-8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4
6 Annual % growth in GVA
Trend 2000 2004 2007 2010 2013 2007-10 2010-13 2010-13
LCR 75.3 73.0 71.8 68.3 70.0 -4.9 2.5 Improvement
England 74.5 72.8 72.6 70.4 71.7 -3.0 1.8 Improvement
UK N/A 72.4 72.4 70.1 71.3 -3.2 1.7 Improvement
Employment rate - 16-64 (%) % change
Trend 2004 2007 2010 2013 2007-10 2010-13 2010-13
LCR 74.8 74.5 71.4 73.2 -4.1 2.5 Improvement England 75.0 75.1 73.4 74.7 -2.3 1.9 Improvement UK 74.6 74.9 73.1 74.4 -2.4 1.8 Improvement
In 2010, 26.9% of Leeds City
Region’s SOAs were in the 20% most deprived in
England – and although there was some improvement between 2004 and 2007, there has since been a small decline to 2010.
20–25% of workers in the Leeds City Region are earning below the living wage of £7.65 an hour – between 274,000 and 343,400 people
(approximately 10% of full-time workers, and at least 40% of part-time workers).
The difference between the richest and the poorest is not as pronounced as nationally,
with a £8.18 difference per hour between the 25th and 75th percentiles across West Yorkshire, £8.77 across North Yorkshire and £7.07 in Barnsley, compared with £9.77 across England.
In March 2014, there were 69,368 people claiming Unemployment Benefit in the Leeds City Region (3.6%) of which 32,775 (1.7%) had been claiming for six months or more. Total claimants in the Leeds City Region represents 7.2% of all
claimants in England and 5.8% of all claimants in the UK. In 2013,
ILO unemployment stood at 8.7% across the Leeds City Region, compared with 7.6% across England and 7.7% across the UK.
Employment Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement
Allowance benefit claimants account for 6.2% of the working-age population in the Leeds City Region (6% on average across England).
10.46 10.31 11.19 10.07 11.07 10.91 11.55 11.86 10.1 11.36 11.62 9 9.5 10 10.5 11 11.5 12 B ar n sl e y B rad fo rd Cal d e rd al e Cr av e n H ar roga te K ir klee s Lee d s Se lb y W ake fi e ld Yor k UK
Gross hourly pay (£), 2013
2000 2004 2007 2010 2013 2014
LCR 1.2 0.6 0.8 1.5 2.2 1.7
England 1.2 0.7 0.8 1.4 1.7 1.2
UK 1.2 0.8 0.8 1.5 1.7 1.3
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
2.5 Claimant count rate: 6 months+
Claimant count rate (as of March each year) Trend 2000 2004 2007 2010 2013 2014 2007-10 2010-14 2010-14
LCR 3.4 2.2 2.5 4.4 4.7 3.6 76.0 -18.2 Improvement England 3.0 2.3 2.4 3.9 3.8 2.8 62.5 -28.2 Improvement UK 3.2 2.4 2.4 4.0 3.9 2.9 66.7 -27.5 Improvement
# of SOAs # % # % # % 2007-10
LCR total 1,832 534 29.1 486 26.5 492 26.9 Decline
2004 2007 2010
Growth, jobs and poverty: an overview of the Leeds
City Region data context
A key element of the More jobs, better jobs baseline is the assessment of the current picture of growth, jobs and poverty in the city region. An overview is provided here, with more detail in Appendix 2: More jobs, better jobs baseline: Local data analysis, and Appendix 3: More jobs, better jobs: Local data score cards, both available as separate documents.
As an area historically focused on production and manufacturing, the Leeds City Region has experienced significant economic structural changes over the past 30 years, and has had to re-establish itself with a greater focus on service-related, technological and innovative new industries.
Overall, it was hit harder and for longer by the recent recession that the rest of the UK, and its economy is currently worth £53.1 billion (2008 prices). This is less than it was worth in 2007. Although growth of 13.9 per cent is forecast to 2020, it will still probably lag behind the UK average (a forecast 15.1 per cent), thereby increasing the
productivity gap further (see Figure 1). Fully closing this productivity gap in 2013 could add an additional £9.1 billion to the city region’s economy.
Leeds accounts for over a third of the city region economy, and growth to 2020 will be driven predominantly by the finance; wholesale; administrative and supportive services; professional services; real estate; retail; health, and land transport, storage and post sectors.
12 Figure 1: Average annual percentage growth rates in gross value added (GVA) 2007–2020
Source: Experian Business Strategies, Regional Econometric Model, September 2013. Based on 2008 CVM prices.
An extra 81,200 jobs are forecast across the city region between 2013 and 2020, a growth rate of 5.5 per cent, with the greatest increases expected in professional
services, health, administrative, financial, transport, storage and warehousing, retailing and construction related sectors. With almost a third of all employment based in Leeds, the city is expected to attract around 34,300 of these new jobs over the next seven years.
Nearly half (44.3 per cent) of these new jobs created will most likely be in occupations that require qualifications at Level 4 or above. Only an additional 13,000 new jobs requiring either no qualifications or those below a Level 2 are expected to be added. At the same time, declines in job numbers will generally be felt in occupations where lower levels of skills are required.
This ‘hollowing out’ of the workforce in lower-middle skill level occupations most affects administrative and secretarial occupations, the skilled trades, and sales and customer services and elementary occupations, while professional, associate professional and caring, leisure and other services occupations showed the greatest levels of growth between 2004 and 2013. Forecast trends between 2013 and 2020 show this declining pattern continuing to affect the administrative and secretarial occupations, although the predominance of the manufacturing industry across the Leeds City Region may mean
-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Leeds City Region
13 that skilled trades occupations show some growth, in comparison with national
downwards trends (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Percentage change in employment by broad occupational group 2004– 2013 and 2013–2020 across the Leeds City Region
Source: Office for National Statistics, Labour Force Survey, 2004–2013, and Experian Business Strategies, Regional Econometric Model, September 2013 for 2013–2020 forecasts.
Replacement demand, however, will account for 617,000 jobs between 2010 and 2020 of which 138,000 will be in administrative, elementary administration and service and sales occupations (see Figure 3). Therefore the importance of replacement demand for workers occupying these lower-middle skill level occupations cannot be understated.
-20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 1: man ag er s, d ir e cto rs a n d se n io r o ff ic ial s 2: p ro fe ssi o n al o cc u p ati o n s 3: assoc iate p ro f & te ch o cc u p ati o n s 4: ad mi n istr ati ve an d se cr e tar ial o cc u p ati o n s 5: ski lle d tr ad es o cc u p ati o n s 6: c ar in g, le isure an d o th e r se rv ic e o cc u p ati o n s 7: sal e s and c u sto me r se rv ic e o cc u p ati o n s 8: p ro ce ss, p lan t an d mac h in e o p er ati ve s 9: e le me n tar y o cc u p ati o n s
% change 2004 - 2013 % change 2013 - 20
14 Figure 3: Replacement demand (‘000s jobs) by broad occupation, 2010–2020 across the Leeds City Region
Source: University of Warwick, Institute for Employment Research, 2010–2020. The challenge remains of better connecting people to these jobs. Working-age
employment rates across the city region continue to lag behind the UK average (70.3 per cent, compared with 71.1 per cent, see Figure 4), and while there are many reasons for economic inactivity, there are currently 1.5 million working-age people across the city region that are economically inactive, of which just over a quarter want a job.
Figure 4: Employment rates of working-age people (16-64) across the Leeds City Region, with Leeds and UK comparisons
Source: Office for National Statistics, Annual Population Survey, employment rates of working age people (aged 16–64), annualised for October–September each year.
2 12 -17
23 32 27
51 66 49
-40 -20 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140
9. Elementary occs 8. Process, plant & machine operatives 7. Sales & customer service occs 6. Caring, leisure and other service occs 5. Skilled trades occs 4. Admin & secretarial occs 3. Associate prof & tech occs 2. Professional occs 1. Managers, directors, senior officials
Net Requirement Expansion Demand
70.3 69.2 71.1
66 68 70 72 74 76
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 Leeds City Region
15 It is not just an issue of reconnecting those on the edge of the labour market, however; ensuring a child’s life chances are not jeopardised by poverty and low income is a significant challenge to the school system, and while excellent progress has been made recently in reducing the number of 16-18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) down from around 7,000 in December 2011 to 5,500 by December 2013, the associations between poverty and low educational achievement and subsequently reduced employment chances are well documented.
Labour market supply and productivity are also affected by health, both in terms of (healthy) life expectancy and determinants of health. There is considerable variation across the city region, with areas with higher incomes and employment rates (in York and North Yorkshire) having health indicators that outperform other areas of the city region and England average.
A high proportion of the Leeds City Region experiences severe deprivation, with 26.9 per cent of its Super Output Areas (SOAs) in the 20 per cent most deprived in the country (see Figure 5). Significant localised pockets of deprivation are apparent in Bradford, while Barnsley, Wakefield and Bradford also exhibit much higher than average levels of employment deprivation.
Overall, if there was total equity across the country, you would expect 10 per cent of the SOAs in each area to be in the 10 per cent most deprived, 20 per cent to be in the 20 per cent most deprived and so on.
16 Figure 5: Proportion of Super Output Areas in the 20 per cent most deprived in the country by local authority district
Source: Department of Communities and Local Government, Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2010.
Red shading indicates higher levels of deprivation, blue indicates lower levels.
Between 274,700 – 343,400 workers (20-25 per cent) across the Leeds City Region are currently earning below the living wage, and the city region has a higher proportion of workers in the occupations paying below average, especially in Barnsley, Bradford and Wakefield, where higher than average numbers of workers are in sales and customer service, elementary and process, plant and machine operative occupations.
These lower-paid occupations (see Figure 6) are more prevalent across the residents of certain localities of the Leeds City Region. For example, Barnsley has 79 per cent more process, plant and machine operatives, than the UK average. Sales occupations form a larger part of the workforce across Barnsley and Bradford in particular, but also in Leeds, Wakefield and York, while elementary occupations – which form the lowest paid occupations, are more prevalent across residents of Craven, Wakefield and York. At the other end of the scale, Harrogate has a much higher than average proportion of
managers, directors and senior officials.
Education, skills and training deprivation
Bradford 43.3 39.1 29.6 45.3
Leeds 28.6 22.5 22.7 31.3
Calderdale 22.5 21.7 24 24.8
Kirklees 28.1 24.6 23.1 27.7
Wakefield 28.7 21.1 37.3 42.6
York 6.8 5.9 5.1 12.7
Craven 6.3 6.3 6.3 6.3
Harrogate 1.0 1 1.9 3.8
Selby 2.0 2 2 8
Barnsley 33.3 29.9 54.4 46.3
LCR total 26.9 22.8 25.1 31.3
17 Figure 6: Median gross hourly pay by occupation across the UK, 2010
Source: Office for National Statistics, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2010, 2-digit occupational gross hourly pay across the UK.
Recovery in jobs growth since the recession has taken longer than average to bounce back, and ILO unemployment rates continue to track above the UK average (8.7 per cent, compared with 7.7 per cent, see Figure 7). The impact of long-term
unemployment, however, can be extremely detrimental, not only to a
person’s/household’s income, but also to their mental health and overall well-being; 22,600 people have been claiming unemployment benefit for over a year across the city region. 0 5 10 15 20 25 C u rr e n t mi n imu m w ag e Li vi n g wag e S al e s o cc s E le me n tar y ad mi n & se rv ic e E le me n tar y tr ad e s & r e lated Te xti le s, p ri n ti n g & o th e r s ki lle d … L ei sure , tr av e l & re late d p e rso n al C ar in g p e rso n al se rv ic e S ki lle d ag ri & re lated tr ad e s C u sto me r s e rv ic e S e cr e tar ial & r e lated Pr o ce ss, p lan
t & m
ac h in e o p s Tr an spo rt, ma ch in e d ri ve rs & o p s A d mi n istr ati ve o cc s S ki lle d c o n str u cti o n & b u ild in g… O ve ral l a ve rag e H e al th , so ci al c ar e assoc p ro fs S ki lle d me tal , e le ctr ic al ,… C u ltu re , me d ia, spo rts o cc s S ci e n ce , e n gi n e er in g, te ch n o lo gy … O th e r man ag e rs /p ro p ri e to rs Bu s & p u b lic se rv ic e assoc p ro fs Pr o te cti ve se rv ic e o cc s H e al th p ro fs Bu s, me d ia, p u b lic se rv ic e p ro fs S ci e n ce , r e se ar ch , e n g, … C o rp o rate man ag er s/d ir e cto rs Te ac h in g & e d u cati o n al p ro fs
18 Figure 7: Claimant count and ILO unemployment rate and annual jobs growth across the Leeds City Region, compared with the UK average: 2006–2014
Sources: Office for National Statistics, residence-based claimant counts with rates and proportions, based on claimant count rates as of February each year; Annual Population Survey for ILO unemployment (Jan–Dec each year) and Experian Business Strategies, Regional Econometric Model, September 2013, total employment for annual jobs growth percentage rates.
The remnant effects of an industrial heritage in mining also linger, with both Barnsley and Wakefield retaining a higher proportion of Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance/Employment Support Allowance claimants, at 9.4 per cent and 8.3 per cent of working-age people respectively (LCR and England averages are 6.2 per cent and 6 per cent).
The impact of household worklessness affects around 16,700 dependent children across the city region, with a fifth or more children across West Yorkshire and Barnsley classed as in poverty in 2010/11. That said, almost 40 per cent of working families in Bradford are classed as low-income, with Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale and Barnsley all experiencing higher proportions of working families receiving low-income benefits.
The costs of poverty
The costs of poverty are difficult to quantify, but broad analysis suggests that out-of-work benefit costs could be costing the Leeds City Region in the order of £2.06 billion
4.8 3.8 3.9 3 0.9 0.2 0.7 8.7 7.7 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
A ve rag e an n u al p er ce n tage gr o wt h r ate s
LCR claimant count UK claimant count LCR Jobs growth UK Jobs growth LCR ILO unemployment UK ILO unemployment
19 (for 2013); troubled families cost around £600 million and child poverty around £700 million in Leeds and Bradford alone.
Attitudes and understanding
Despite some uncertainty on technical definitions, there is a strong appreciation of the concepts and their importance, reflected in high mean scores of 8.7 and 8.3/10 (see Tables 2 and 3). However, when asked about the ways in which they are connected and their impact on each other, opinions were less well formed – reflected in much lower mean scores of 5.9 and 5.5/10. There is substantial scope therefore to further inform attitudes and understanding and as such the overall grading applied is amber. Key messages are:
Interviewees rate growth and poverty as (virtually) equally important at 8.9 and 8.3/10 respectively.
‘Growth’ is far wider than gross value added (GVA). It is used as shorthand for economic success in the round. Without prompting, most interviewees referred to the quality of growth as vital – referring to sustainable, resilient and inclusive. As one local authority noted ‘the jury is out on growth’. There is a view that a ‘good growth’ narrative is beginning to emerge.
The language of poverty is complex and can alienate audiences, making organisations question their role and responsibilities on it. The LEP sees that it ‘isn’t our role’, while the private sector refers to not enough ‘social conscience’. This shows a tension between personal views and institutional mission. By bringing in issues of quality jobs, skills, progression and incomes, the ‘good growth’ agenda can address this language barrier and help make the ‘business case’.
The agenda on poverty is evolving – welfare reform, funding cuts and the recession are sharpening focus and moving away from benefit maximisation towards a narrative of self-sufficiency, resilience and employability. In-work poverty is rising in profile but is not yet fully understood, built into strategy or acted upon. A national emphasis on child poverty and young people is also shaping attitudes, shifting the focus away from older adults where poverty and unemployment can be more entrenched.
Despite good understanding of growth and poverty individually, everyone is much more sceptical on how far they are currently connected. There is emerging high-level political ownership, but some way to go before it is fully embedded in organisational ethos and practice.
21 Views on how growth impacts on poverty are more developed than vice versa.
There is an understanding that trickle-down does not work, notwithstanding some conscious or otherwise reliance on it. Some recognise that ‘it is the type of
growth that counts’, referring to the high growth/high employment trade-off between sectors, carbon impacts, perceptions of ‘city centre’ jobs being out of reach, and new entry-level jobs with no routes for progression. There is also an honest reflection on the extent to which an area can ‘pick and choose’ investment if it is to fulfil its local employment aspirations, reflecting the economic and
political realities that the More jobs, better jobs programme must be grounded in. We are at the ‘foothills of better connecting the two’ aided by a stronger evidence
base but there is much more to do on embedding understanding, breaking down silos and to be more systematic in joining up action.
There is a view that the More jobs, better jobs programme is timely and has already had some influence. It can help reaffirm and extend evolving local attitudes, especially through providing a stronger evidence base – noted by one local authority as ‘Now I see the flipside, that tackling poverty is also about driving the economy, I am not sure I always did’.
A key objective of the More jobs, better jobs programme is to better understand the relationship between poverty and the economy in the city region and, furthermore, to make a compelling case for creating more and better jobs that help lift people out of poverty. If it is to be successful in doing this, it is essential that those managing and steering the programme know from the outset how far they need to travel, based on the current understanding of a sample of those who can enable and deliver this change locally. Testing the attitudes of a set of key stakeholders in LCR through this baseline study gives an initial assessment of this, and in that regard can guide the programme’s development.
Semi-structured interviews were used to assess attitudes and understanding and combined a mixture of open questions and self-assessed ratings (of 1–10, where 10 is high). This focused on a set of three questions, around which the following sections are structured.
22 Table 2: Attitudes and understanding of the importance of economic growth
Mean rating Range
All interviews: 8.7/10 5/10 – 10/10
Local authorities 8.9/10 6/10 – 10/10
LEP 10/10 10/10 – 10/10
Private sector 9.5/10 8/10 – 10/10
VCS 8.3/10 5/10 – 10/10
Health and higher education 6.0/10 5/10 – 7/10
The meaning of growth
Interviewees broadly fell into two groups. One group, including people from all sectors, gave their understanding of how growth is defined, often involving measures such as gross domestic product (GDP), gross value added (GVA), or in some cases productivity. A second group were less sure (and less interested) about the technicalities, and often instead went on to say why growth was important or to give a general view of what economic success entailed.
Both groups of people often went on to talk about the limitations of growth and/or how the narrow and technical definitions and language around growth simplify what is a much more complex picture. This opened up wider discussion about a basket of factors that contribute to growth or are impacted by it, and how far growth is critical to their local economy. In particular this focused on aspects such as employment, skills, physical regeneration, health, social progress, quality of life, and environmental sustainability. What became clear is that the term ‘growth’ is used, particularly by local authorities, as convenient shorthand for a much broader concept of economic success that
incorporates business, people, places and the environment. For stakeholders across sectors, it is in fact this wider success that is being sought, rather than simply moving the GVA figure upwards. This implies that, although perhaps not consciously articulated as such, there is a mindset that growth’s impact on people and places is critical. We will go on to discuss how far this kind of positive impact is assumed to be automatic, or whether there is more scepticism and conditionality in play later in this section.
The importance of growth
In many cases, interviewees instinctively said that growth was fundamental to their organisation and/or area.This is reflected in the high mean score that people awarded to the importance of growth – 8.7 out of 10. A typical local authority reaction was ‘it’s fundamental to our future’ while one voluntary and community sector (VCS)
23 growth was given a score of 10 out of 10 for importance, with a further third scoring it as 8 or 9 out of 10. This included all private sector interviewees, the LEP, and perhaps less predictably, four of the six people interviewed from the VCS – although their responses stressed the impact on people’s lives as paramount.
Only two (of 14) local authority interviewees scored the importance of growth as below 8. One local authority stood out as connecting this concept to poverty reduction based on the council’s understanding of the very particular challenges facing the district
around levels of inequalities, a rapidly growing young population, and low wage/low skill dominance.
In most cases (and as previously discussed), beneath the immediate affiliation with the desire for growth, there was agreement that it is growth defined as wide economic success that is sought. A few others were clearly more aware of the debate about the limitations and downsides of growth, for instance environmental impacts and widening inequalities. Whether described as ‘good growth’, ‘sustainable growth’ or something else, a high proportion of stakeholders, including across all sectors, raised the idea that the quality of growth was important before a specific question on this issue was asked. As one local authority director of communities put it ‘the jury is out on growth’.
Associated points included:
growth must support quality of life, not the other way round;
the right type of growth it absolutely vital as it helps communities to flourish;
ethical creation of wealth and the fair distribution of the proceeds of growth is crucial; growth needs to be decoupled from environmental and carbon impacts;
jobs must be of the quality that will provide routes out of deep-rooted poverty and inequalities;
growth can support better outcomes for everyone, but that depends upon skills and educational attainment;
poor quality or low-paid jobs impact adversely on health; better jobs are critical for long-term health and well-being outcomes.
One local authority assistant director of economic development summed up: ‘We must have economic growth with equity.’
The scores at the low end of the range reflected the above issues, for instance in one VCS interview where strong concerns about disparities were raised, and from the health and education sector where the connection to their own organisational priority was seen as being less strong. One public health official noted the need of the sector to ramp up its understanding of the growth agenda given its new position embedded in the local
24 authority, and to do this alongside taking a leadership role in ensuring that growth is not detrimental to the health and well-being of local people.
Private sector responses supported a view that growth feeds growth, and that for many, the success of their business is intrinsically linked to the success of another firm or the local economy. Growth remains fundamental to providing shareholders with a long-term return on investment – as such the importance of growth was scored as 9 or 10 out of 10 by all business interviewees. One representative spoke of a more sophisticated understanding among a minority of ‘enlightened’ businesses locally. This sees investment by the private sector as creating a circle of economic and social benefit based on jobs, sustainability of investment, and connection to the community.
An evolving view
Participants were also asked whether growth has become more important in the last 12 months. The response varied across sectors. Among local authorities, it ranged from ‘growth always has been a top priority’ to ‘growth used to look after itself’. Generally the view was of a point in between these extremes, reflecting the economic circumstances of many parts of the LCR as having needed for some time a degree of proactive
intervention to reduce reliance on traditional and declining sectors. One local authority felt that the growth agenda had strengthened but is not yet fully embedded in the organisation beyond senior officer and cabinet level.
There was a clear sense across all authorities that the recession has focused minds more sharply on this agenda, and that the concept of ‘good growth’ is gradually evolving as a high-level narrative. Two authorities went on to set this in the context of changes to council finances. With business rates set to provide an important source of council income in future years, local growth is arguably more critical than ever if an authority is to be able to continue to provide services, especially those that focus on reducing inequalities. The logic applied here is that business success builds a virtuous circle of wealth creation, feeding into jobs, wages and spending in the local economy. This fuels further business growth and wealth creation and so the cycle continues upwards. Views have also evolved to some extent and in some places linked to the More jobs, better jobs programme. This is especially the case in organisations where political leaders are clearly supportive, and where representatives attended steering group meetings or the February 2014 conference. The project is timely and connects with evolving attitudes and policy at the local level. A number of interviewees were clear that the project has reaffirmed and extended their thinking and that it provided a stronger evidence to put forward a case for growth.
The importance of poverty
Table 3: Attitudes and understanding of the importance of poverty
Mean rating Range
All interviews 8.3/10 5/10 – 10/10
Local authorities 8.3/10 3/10 – 10/10
LEP 6.5/10 3/10 – 10/10
Private sector 9.0/10 6/10 – 10/10
VCS 9.0/10 8/10 – 10/10
Health and higher education 7.3/10 6/10 – 8/10
The meaning of poverty
As in the discussion on growth, many participants noted the difficulties and complexities in defining poverty, and few had what they would consider to be a detailed
understanding of this. A significant number, including from the VCS and higher education (HE) sectors, were keen to reference the distinction between absolute and relative poverty, often citing international comparison through their own experience in developing countries. Having made this point they went on to recognise that the critical issue therefore in this city region is the inequality that relative poverty creates and the effects that an unequal society has on the lives of everybody – not just the worst off – across a range of indicators. Reference was made in this regard to The Spirit Level (Wilkinson and Pickett, Bloomsbury, 2010), and to Leeds as having a two-speed economy, where extremes sit side by side and gaps are becoming wider and more obvious.
The VCS and private sector also made reference to a poverty of opportunity and aspiration, keen to move away from a sole focus on material wealth. For a minority of those from an economic development background, including some in the LEP, the language of poverty was felt to be alienating – making it more difficult to engage with the issue in an environment where key figures may feel ‘that isn’t our role’. More economically connected language around good jobs, reduced worklessness,
communities, skills, progression routes and incomes was seen as more accessible. One key factor here was the rise in profile of the concept of in-work poverty. This has
triggered some of those interviewed in economic development to see that more as part of their role, and one which is connected to skills and better quality jobs.
26 Like growth, poverty was rated as a highly important issue across all sectors, with a mean score of 8.3 out of 10. When looking at individual sectors in more detail, the highest scores came from the VCS and private sector where 9 out of 10 participants scored importance as 8 out of 10 or above. Both expressed concern around inequalities in the city. The VCS questioned the ability of Leeds to achieve its Best City ambitions given widening divides between people that live in the city. The private sector
‘Leeds cannot be a successful city if almost a quarter of its children live in poverty’ Two of three health representatives interviewed also placed poverty as a primary concern and the key to reducing stark local inequalities, with one noting ‘it would make a massive difference to health inequalities if we could just tackle smoking and poverty’. In the private sector, the view, as presented through those interviewed, was on the whole one of the ‘enlightened corporate citizen’. For one involved locally in major physical development projects, this meant that long-term sustainable return on
investment for shareholders cannot be divorced from being a good business, partner, neighbour and citizen within the community. This is critical in creating a relationship with the place, not least so that when seeking to establish a new development, the
community and local authority will think and speak favourably of you. Put simply it makes business sense.
However, while this might be the policy of their own business, the respondent stressed that not all businesses think or act this way. Too few understand poverty or see its relevance to them or their future success. There is not enough ‘social conscience’ and too much wealth created in the city of Leeds ‘gets in its posh car at the end of the day and drives north out of the city’. There was a sense that talk of a return to growth in the media reinforces private sector complacency. As one business representative
explained, there is a balance between personal values and what is good for business: ‘I would be amazed if most businesses don’t feel poverty is important. But they may not feel it is their responsibility.’
Local authorities across the city region noted that poverty is a priority; yet when scoring, tended towards scoring growth as slightly more important. This does not appear to vary depending on whether interviewing a director of economic development or of
communities. That said, the result at a total level is very marginal at scores of 8.9 and 8.3 out of 10 respectively. One authority, however, stands out as doing the converse, i.e. scoring poverty as more important than growth. In this instance there is high-level political ownership of a substantial new policy agenda adopted internally and driven by
27 a desire for a new approach to tackle the causes as well as the consequences of
poverty. The interviewee held the belief that breaking down institutional silos would be critical to success; a view that found favour elsewhere in terms of calling for a ‘whole system approach’. This view found support from another council where a challenge was raised in how to find what will make a ‘big and lasting strategic difference’ where
currently action is ‘bitty’ and sustained action over 20 years has not gone far enough. All LCR local authorities have a history of tackling poverty in one form or other, but interviews suggest that this sharpened focus of late is not uncommon. The recession, welfare reform and cuts to council funding have all played a strong role in this. We heard that:
‘Getting people out of poverty and more self-reliant is even more important now the way [council] funding is going, we need to be able to help people to fend for themselves.’ ‘Poverty now dominates everything I do.’
‘The council’s interest and action on poverty has hotted up over the last year.’ This has coincided with a perception that people are starting gradually to develop a better understanding of different forms of poverty, notably in-work poverty, although there is still a long way to go before this is a sophisticated view. A national emphasis on child poverty and young people is also shaping attitudes. A combination of funding targeted on child poverty and young people, and attitudes that favour giving young people a chance, means that there can be more attention and sympathy to their challenges than those of older adults entrenched in poverty and unemployment. This focus is also reflected in anti-poverty strategies (see Strategy mapping in local
authorities and the LEP) which also often have a children and young people focus. There is a spectrum of views within the LEP about poverty and their role in addressing it or not. The range of scores the LEP put on the importance of poverty was wider than in any other sector. That reflects a contrast between personal views and intuitional
mission. Some key figures undoubtedly see poverty and low incomes as a pressing issue that warrants attention in the city region, however perceptions of the role and purpose of the organisation as set out by government are much more about growth than poverty:
‘It’s hard to get a fix on poverty in policy terms – reducing poverty is not our objective, but it is a positive by-product of it.’
28 Views within the LEP are evolving, and may further develop given the LEP’s new
responsibility for the European Structural and Investment Fund, incorporating the European Social Fund. Other interviewees outside the LEP alluded to differing views within it from the outset about a pure growth focus (as favoured by many private sector board members) or one that delivers wider benefits (as favoured by key political leaders and the VCS). The case for ‘growth with wider benefits’ is seen as having won that debate, with the LEP having a strong focus on jobs, skills and apprenticeships.
Interviewees noted that the fact that there is now more in-work than out-of-work poverty means that ‘employment alone is not the be all and end all’ and that ‘times are
changing, but it’s not an overnight conversion’.
The connection between growth, jobs and poverty
This question was designed to explore the core principle of the More jobs, better jobs partnership that growth and poverty are not two separate agendas, and that connecting them benefits both. Questions explored the extent to which local stakeholders recognise there to be a connection, and to gather a picture of how well people think this
connection is currently made. Responses to earlier questions ascertained that growth and poverty are understood to be priorities in the city region. The headline finding from this line of questioning, however, is of a much more sceptical view across all
stakeholders of the extent to which these concepts are currently linked, as demonstrated in the lower mean ratings.
The impact of growth on poverty
Table 4:Attitudes and understanding of the connection between growth, jobs and poverty: impact of growth on poverty
Mean rating Range
All interviewees 5.9/10 2/10 – 10/10
Local authorities 6.0/10 3.5/10 – 9/10
LEP 6.9/10 5/10 – 7/10
Private sector 6.4/10 6/10 – 10/10
VCS 5.3/10 2/10 – 8/10
Health and higher education 5.7/10 4/10 – 7/10
As a starting point, there was by and large a long-held view among those interviewed that ‘trickle down’ economics does not work – that local areas cannot rely solely on a general pattern of increased GVA to benefit everyone equally. This is borne out in the moderate mean score of 5.9 out of 10. Some demonstrated this through observations linking past growth to performance saying:
29 ‘Despite growth, poverty (in Leeds) remains a perennial problem, with a core group of people seemingly unaffected.’
Looking forward, the absence of any definite relationship between growth and reduced poverty was recognised as presenting a real risk of inequalities widening as the LCR economy returns to growth.
‘If left unchecked people would not prosper. There is no trickle down here.’
Despite this widely held view on the dysfunction of trickle down, it appears that there has been some reliance, conscious or otherwise, on growth creating jobs and wealth. This is brought out through a wide variationin views on how far growth currently does help to reduce poverty. Interestingly, when looking at scores, this variation is not just between sectors but within them too. For example the private sector has one of the lowest and the highest scores in the range. The VCS is most sceptical when looking at the mean of their scores, and it is from here that the lowest score of 2 in the range originated. Local authorities most commonly scored either side of the mid-point. Analysis of the detailed responses sheds more light on this. At the core of this was a discussion captured in one interview as it being ‘the type of growth that counts’,
stressing that where growth takes place and the form it takes it critical to the end result for individuals. Interviewees recognised that jobless growth can occur depending on the type of sector. High technology fields were picked out as the primary area for this, but one authority also noted the long-term employment implications brought about as a result of greater automation of traditionally manual roles. This appears to present something of a ‘jobs versus growth’ dilemma, and as such a potential conflict for economic policy and the subsequent allocation of limited resources for economic development. The issue here is around how well a local area is able to target such resources at the sectors that will prove most beneficial to them in terms of the jobs versus growth equation and the extent to which this will help fulfil their local employment and growth aspirations. As one local authority director of development stressed:
‘We want growth with jobs...it’s well and good seeing growth, but if it doesn’t come with jobs it doesn’t mean much to local people.’
Another local authority developed this point further and, although well-informed and supportive of the principles of connecting growth to local employment opportunity, felt that it had to be pragmatic. Referring to the challenges it faced in attracting investment in the first place, interviewees noted ‘we cannot pick and choose’. This is placed in the wider context of a competitive and global investment market in which the Leeds city
30 region, like many others, historically struggles to attract investment against the
dominance of London and the south east. When looking at it this way it raises the question of how selective a local area is prepared to be when the prospect of new jobs is on the table. These are the economic and political realities that the More jobs, better jobs programme must take into account. A VCS interview usefully expanded on this with an example that drew attention to the point, questioning growth and jobs created
through a large casino that in fact transfers wealth and can act against equality and social good.
This issue of being able to ‘select’ the type of investment you want for your area also rang true from a skills perspective. One local authority reported that there had in the past been a simplistic idea that all that was needed was to attract more entry-level jobs for local people. This is now evolving to become a more sophisticated narrative about the role of skills ladders and the ability to progress in sustainable jobs. This leads to discussion on how the quality of jobs impacts on poverty, with concerns raised around growth creating more low-wage and zero-hour contract jobs that do little or nothing to tackle inequalities and poverty. The education and health sectors both spoke of too many low-paid jobs already that do not necessarily deliver benefits, and the
voluntary/community sector pointed out that ‘we need stable, sustainable private sector jobs with routes for progression’ if we are to give people a way out of poverty.
Furthermore, members of the private and voluntary/community sector both referred to what are often seen as ‘city centre’ jobs. They spoke of a perception that – despite some people working very hard to make connections - substantial new retail positions are not within reach of many people who are finding it very hard to get work, for example those from a manufacturing background who even with upskilling will most likely be unable to move far above minimum wage. Others from a local authority background agreed, but argued that this is often the result of misguided information from peers and family members and, for the younger cohort, poor information, advice and guidance in schools. One spoke in detail regarding the perception of modern apprenticeships as being ‘all greasy overalls, not financial and professional services jobs in KPMG’.
The public and health sectors remain big employers in the LCR. Drives for increased productivity and restraints on head count are creating a particular issue around how well growth is connected to poverty. It is getting harder to get and keep a job in these
sectors, with health representatives referring to a growing number of hoops to jump through. This does not bode well for those who are already struggling to be job-ready. Employers are less willing to take a risk or carry out the intensive support that may be needed to bring a person up to core competencies. This is true of apprenticeships too, where, as also noted in the health sector, greater screening in recruitment is meaning
31 focus on the people who are already most employable, articulate, presentable and a safe bet (see also the section Action and resources), raising questions about whether it is right or not to view apprenticeships as an anti-poverty tool. This is an important message that must be seen alongside the earlier reference to a shift to a national emphasis on children and young people.
The impact of poverty on growth
Table 5:Attitudes and understanding of the connection between growth, jobs and poverty: impact of poverty on growth
Mean rating Range
All interviews 5.5/10 2/10 – 8/10
Local authorities 6.0/10 3/10 – 8/10
LEP 5.0/10 4/10 – 6/10
Private sector 7.3/10 7/10 – 8/10
VCS 5.0/10 2/10 – 8/10
Health and higher education 5.0/10 4/10 – 7/10
Understanding of the positive impact that reduced poverty can have on growth is far less developed. The case appears to be much less rehearsed with no popular catchphrase along the lines of trickle down (and often a pause in interviews while
people reflected on the question). One private sector response made direct reference to policy perspectives never viewing this angle. The strength of link is middling, with the bulk of scores falling between 4 and 8 out of 10. The strongest link is seen by the private sector, commenting in one interview that it is ‘more important than we give it credit for’. Reference was made to the way in which a place is perceived by potential investors, especially those looking to invest from overseas or elsewhere in the UK. In this sense the reputation or perception of a place in having high levels of poverty will impact on ‘turning off’ investors and the area losing out. This comment was also made by a local authority.
Local authorities follow this 4– 8 out of 10 trend. By and large the overwhelming view is of poverty as a cost to them as service providers, and money that could be better spent elsewhere. This has been made more stark by welfare reform and funding cuts, and the language used here tended towards helping people to become more self-reliant and inspired to invest in their own futures. This position seems to have moved on from one in the past that was focused on benefit maximisation. This created a policy silo, with one local authority director of development highlighting that ‘for years lots of effort has gone into tackling poverty but in complete isolation from growth’.
32 There was a shared view across sectors of the cost to society as a whole through
people not being able to fulfil their potential and in experiencing inequalities, e.g. in health, income, education and skills that combine to undermine the economy. There was also a strong cross-sector view on the propensity for less poverty to create more local spending power and circulation of wealth. A VCS interviewee made a pertinent point about people becoming better consumers of goods and services when they are not weighed down by the burden of debt, although this was countered by another view in the sector that there is ‘so very much to do to reduce the burden that people
experience’. This shared sentiment on the multiplier effect was, however, countered by one local authority response that ‘the impact is probably less than people think’.
Looking at local authorities and the LEP, there is one interesting correlation to make across scores for the importance of growth, poverty and the connection between the two. In the first set of questions analysed above, one local authority consistently scored poverty as being more important than growth where the opposite was true for all other authorities. The same authority consistently scored the impact of reducing poverty on growth as equal to or higher than the impact of growth on reducing poverty. Again this was the opposite way round in all but three other local authority/LEP interviews. This can be cross-referenced to interview and strategy mapping input (see Strategy mapping in local authorities and the LEP) that shows this authority to have adopted a new policy focus on poverty over the last 18 months. Feedback from others interviewed,
particularly in the VCS, recognises the work that the council has set in train on poverty; with one noting a ‘huge and credible push to prioritise poverty and enlisting the private sector to get involved and to think about their responsibility’. No particular scores on the relative importance of growth and poverty and the connection between them are right or wrong. What is more illuminating is how far political leadership (which was also
mentioned in interviews) on tackling poverty appears to be impacting on officer perceptions and priorities and council structures.
A number of participants made reference to the issue of in-work poverty, noting that this is becoming a more widely understood concept, although still needing to flow into
strategic approaches and action. A challenge highlighted within the LEP was that of how to help unskilled adults in ‘dead end’ minimum wage jobs to upskill, progress and
increase their earnings. There is no funding to help such people upskill, employers have little business motivation to do so, and individuals themselves are unlikely to have the time and funding to gain further qualifications even if they are motivated to do so. A number of interviewees across a range of sectors (although less so the VCS) noted that ‘benefits traps’ still mean that work does not pay for too many people, and that for some, accepting more hours or a pay raise can mean lower net incomes once in-work benefit changes are taken into account. These views were not posited in a judgemental