Reclaiming our regions

How combined authorities can help to build more inclusive local economies

In 2023 the New Economics Foundation (NEF), the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), Co-operatives UK and the Centre for Thriving Places (CTP) came together to create the Reclaiming Our Regional Economies (RORE) programme. RORE will operate for five years until 2028, alongside three pilot combined authority areas, to bring communities together with political and institutional leaders to test ideas that help to re-wire and reform their economies, so that they deliver good lives now and for generations to come.

In the first year of our work on RORE we have been able to observe first-hand the triumphs and challenges being faced by combined authorities, communities and their partners. This short paper is our account, based on those observations, of why devolution is necessary and valuable. We discuss the barriers incumbent in our current devolution model and explain how what we are doing in the West Midlands, North East and South Yorkshire will amplify and scale-up the excellent work being done by the Combined Authorities in those areas to create fairer local economies. Finally, we offer some emerging insights as to how national devolution policy could be reformed to facilitate greater progress.

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