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New Commission forms to investigate and overcome barriers to regeneration across the country

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

  • Leading Combined Authority figures from across the country have joined forces to identify, understand and overcome barriers faced in regenerating local areas.

  • The Purposeful Finance Commission (PFC) is enabling local and combined authority investment leaders, including in Tees Valley, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Liverpool, to share best practice and expertise in order to help other authorities bring forward similar projects.

  • The PFC will publish two research reports based on a series of roundtables later this year.

Leading local government figures across the country have joined forces to form the Purposeful Finance Commission (PFC), a new organisation to help identify, understand, and overcome the challenges that some local authorities face in regenerating local areas, including the need to attract long-term investment. This initiative is seen as an important component of the wider strategy to re-energise the economy and revitalise the regions as these types of projects create local jobs, inject money into the local economy, and drive local GDP growth.

The PFC is chaired by Tracy Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer of specialist insurer and long-term investor Pension Insurance Corporation plc (“PIC”). PIC is a major investor in long-term projects across the country.

The PFC intends to conduct a series of regional events in the coming months to document the challenges faced when bringing forward suitable urban regeneration and infrastructure projects. This will draw on a wide range of perspectives, including local and combined authorities, local businesses, and institutional investors. The PFC will publish the results of this research during the summer, including whether the challenges are uniform across the country or whether some issues are unique to certain regions, before outlining their solutions in a report to be published this autumn.

These solutions will include actions that regional authorities and other local actors can take to identify new projects for investment around the country and attract long-term investors. It will also help central government understand the role they can play in supporting regional authorities.

The commissioners of the Purposeful Finance Commission are:

  • Tracy Blackwell (Chair), Chief Executive, Pension Insurance Corporation plc;

  • John Wrathmell, Director – Strategy, Research and Economy, Greater Manchester Combined Authority;

  • Dr Aileen Jones, Executive Director – Investment and Delivery, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority;

  • Rebecca Cox, Principal Policy Advisor, Local Government Association;

  • Sarah Walker, Strategic Investment Manager, Tees Valley Combined Authority;

  • Alex Thomson, Director, Solace;

  • Adam Hawksbee, Deputy Director, Onward; and

  • Seth Williams, Head of External Affairs, ABI.

Tracy Blackwell, Chair of the PFC and CEO of PIC, said: “With about £11 billion invested in projects across the country, we at PIC have seen the real benefits regeneration projects can bring to local areas, including jobs, better social infrastructure, and significant spend in the regional economy. However, there are councils and local authorities that have proved better equipped to bring forward these types of projects than others, and the idea is to help share this expertise across the country to really help drive the levelling up agenda, because it is at the local level that real change will happen.”


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