Barking and Dagenham only borough in capital to join national push for economic recovery which ‘leaves no one behind’

The borough is the only one in the capital to join the network. Picture: Ken Mears

The borough is the only one in the capital to join the network. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The town hall has joined a national network leading a push for an economic recovery which “leaves no one behind”.

Council leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: Jon King

Council leader Darren Rodwell. Picture: Jon King - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham is one of a dozen councils in the inclusive growth network from thinktank, the Centre for Progressive Policy. It is the only London borough involved.

Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “We are really proud to be one of 12 local authorities to be invited to participate in the network.

“This is further confirmation that we are not only London’s growth opportunity, but that we are at the forefront of driving growth not just for our borough, but across London.

“As we begin the journey to recovery, we are determined more than ever in Barking and Dagenham that no one will be left behind as we continue to support businesses and residents.”

The network is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and supported by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Metro Dynamics.

Its aim is to reduce inequalities, tackle poverty and improve productivity in communities during the coronavirus pandemic and after.

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As a member, the council can access support to help communities and deliver plans to improve the borough’s economy.

The council’s priorities include jobs, growth and green infrastructure.

Charlotte Alldritt, director of the Centre for Progressive Policy, said: “The public health and economic emergency has intensified regional discrepancies, put added pressure on local government finances and public services, and exposed the weaknesses of our overly centralised policymaking processes.

“National policies are simply too blunt an instrument to tackle complex economic and social challenges alone.

“Our recovery needs to be guided by local leaders, who best understand the issues facing their communities, whether those are job losses, skills shortages or problems accessing health and social care.”

Helen Barnard, acting director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “This year has shown us that even if we are in the same boat, not everyone is equally able to weather the economic storms we are faced with.

“The impacts of Covid-19 have fallen most heavily on those who were already struggling to stay afloat, and economies that had already fallen behind.

“As we look towards recovery it is essential that existing poverty does not become more entrenched and areas can rebuild their economy to work for everyone.”

The other authorities involved are Belfast, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and West Midlands.