Reinvigorating the parts of the country that have become known as ‘left-behind Britain’ is one of the most pressing issues facing us today. And, as both a northerner and an MP for a red wall seat, it’s a problem that’s particularly close to my heart.
That’s why I was delighted to chair the judging panel for the IEA’s 2020/21 Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize.
This essay competition called for pro-market, pro-enterprise ways of supercharging growth, employment and living standards in Britain’s declining areas and carried a first prize of £50,000. It attracted hundreds of stimulating and innovative entries from around the world.
One of them came from 26-year-old Tim Foxley, who was living and working in Dubai when he made his submission. But it was growing up in Stoke-on-Trent that drove his prizewinning suggestion of a ‘People’s Tax Rebate’.
You can read it here, alongside all of the top ten entries from this year’s competition. Together, they make a significant and lasting contribution to the debate.
My congratulations to Tim and his fellow winners; my thanks to the IEA for putting this burning issue in the spotlight; and my deepest gratitude to Richard Koch for his compassionate and far-sighted support for this crucial and timely initiative.