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Rebalancing the economy sectorally and spatially: An evidence review: Volume 1 – Main report

The need to ‘rebalance’ the economy as the UK recovers from recession is a high priority for the coalition government. As set out in the Plan for Growth published on 23 March 2011, the government aims “to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries” going forward. Whilst there is substantial commentary on the intent to achieve ‘rebalancing’, there remains a lack of clarity and agreement on what ‘rebalancing’ means: some commentators refer to the balance between public and private employment, sectors (especially manufacturing and services) and London/the South East and elsewhere in the UK; others refer to ‘rebalancing’ in the context of public spending and receipts, imports and exports, and domestic/public consumption and business investment, and, most generically of all, between economic, social and environmental outcomes. Furthermore, there appears to be limited formal articulation of the rationale for the government to intervene in the ‘rebalancing’ process, how ‘rebalancing’ might be achieved most effectively, and how the inherent tensions and trade-offs in addressing different elements of the ‘rebalancing’ challenge should be managed.