The Left Behinds – New Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Engagement


This Demos-PwC events series focuses on tackling social, political and economic exclusion – in particular, exploring the experience of groups for whom globalisation is not seen as a positive force, and who feel disengaged or excluded from the UK’s economic prosperity and political system. Across three public events, featuring high-profile speakers from across the public, private and third sectors, we will look to map out a pathway to building a more inclusive labour market settlement and sense of citizenship, and more innovative strategies for future economic growth and trade.

1.      Regional and Industrial Growth Strategy
This event will focus on setting out a prioritised agenda for the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), particularly looking at how targeted interventions and investment can breathe new life into post-industrial and economically stagnant towns. Building on the Demos-PwC Good Growth Index and Demos’ recent work exploring disparities in the UK’s regional prosperity, this event will chart the socio-economic performance of areas undergoing structural changes to their labour markets during both growth and austerity periods. It will examine how the mixed fortunes of Britain’s towns and cities manifested in the EU Referendum, and how devolution and new forms of governance could ensure future economic growth is more widely shared across the country. The event will also focus on how skills reform and R&D investment could encourage new forms of profitable manufacturing, and prepare citizens for a more flexible future labour market.

2.      Social Mobility: the Next Phase
This event will aim to diagnose the key barriers to social mobility in modern Britain, such as inconsistent educational standards and the erosion of many traditional ‘middle-rung’ professions, and the role these play in entrenching disadvantage. Looking specifically at these ‘left behind’ groups, this event will examine the role that reforming the UK’s education and skills systems could play in driving the next gains in social mobility – with a focus on encouraging a wider distribution of some of the soft skills, character traits and environmental factors that support successes in working life.

3.      Restoring Trust in Business and Politics
Since the expenses scandal and the global financial crisis, active efforts have been made in both politics and business to improve both ethics and transparency. But the EU Referendum underlined how much more work is to be done in building strong and resilient relationships between citizens and the UK’s business and political institutions. Both the Brexit vote and the broader anti-establishment populist movements destabilising traditional economic and political systems reflect a feeling that ordinary people have been let down or betrayed by ‘elites’ acting outside of their interests. This event will focus not only on restoring the trust that has been eroded over recent decades, but on imagining an entirely new social contract, fit for the 21st Century, in which citizens feel they have a genuine stake in practices and outcomes.

To express interest in attending any of these events, please contact Demos Events at [email protected]