Council pension funds should be directed to
local infrastructure projects says new Opinium poll
A majority of people expressing a view (53%) believe that local authority pension funds should be used to support local infrastructure projects such as new transport networks, housing and schools, rather than simply to generate the highest returns for council employees.
And while people are more concerned about getting the best return on their own pension investments, 41% of those with a view would still be happy to see their own funds directed at supporting local infrastructure projects, even if this produced a lower return.
The findings support calls by the non-partisan platform for political discussion and ideas, Radix Big Tent, for more creativity in planning, managing and funding local regeneration schemes to deliver on the Government’s promise of levelling up.
The research, based on a survey conducted by leading pollster, Opinium, is published as newly merged think tank for the radical centre, Radix, and the Big Tent Ideas Festival, hosted their first joint Leaders’ Summit on moving from buzzwords to effective regeneration.
Participants included Science Minister, George Freeman; PPS to the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, Danny Kruger MP; Labour frontbencher and rising star, Stephen Kinnock MP; and Lib Dem Lords Spokesperson on Communities, Baroness Pinnock; amongst others.
47% of people say they have a good understanding of what levelling up means, compared to 29% who have a bad understanding, but they are skeptical that it will have much impact on them:
– Just 17% think it will have a positive impact on their area,
– 21% think it will help the economy,
– 9% think it will be good for their finances, and
– 21% think it will be good for inequality in the UK.
Commenting on the findings, Radix Big Tent Chief Executive, Ben Rich, said:
“Traditional top-down models for regeneration don’t work and have lost public confidence. We must trust local people more.”
“Our Leaders’ Summit – which was largely given over to discussions led by political outsiders such as entrepreneurs, academics and third sector champions – showed there is no shortage of innovative ideas for achieving effective regeneration in left behind areas, including incentivising the private sector to deliver in partnership with local leaders and making better use of private pension funds. There is enormous capital in the private sector that could be coupled with the energy and insights of local people – central government must enable them to get on with it,” he concluded.