Continuing our series of interactive webinars, Copper Consultancy hosted a session titled ‘Can the UK still ‘level-up’ as it recovers from COVID-19?’, featuring guest speaker Alexander Jan, Chief Economist at Arup. We look back at the key findings from the event, and examine the questions the pandemic poses to ‘Brexit Britain’. 

Firstly, Martin McCrink, Managing Partner at Copper, explored the findings from Copper’s the recent Attitudes to infrastructure in Brexit Britain study. Discussion was focused on the conclusions from the study, including the public’s desire for regional ‘levelling up’ throughout the UK, the feeling of a lack of involvement in infrastructure projects, and the prioritisation of social infrastructure such as healthcare, education and housing.This insight, alongside all the findings and discussion from the webinar, can be found by viewing the presentation slides here.

Alexander Jan, who was recently appointed to the Mayor of London’s infrastructure advisory group, continued the discussion with an evaluation of the impacts of COVID-19 on infrastructure and the economy as a whole. Analysis of the short, medium and long term effects provided insight into what the coming years might look like for the country, while an integrated reflection on the UK’s economic recovery and Brexit was provided food for thought for the attending infrastructure, construction and property professionals.

Questions from those attending organisations focused on devolution and the growing demand from the public for control highlighted one avenue for the government to take post COVID-19. The disconnect between generations was a point of conversation, with the speakers debating the age gap between infrastructure decision makers and final users, and the impact of Brexit and the pandemic and on this.

Throughout the webinar, Copper was also carrying out further industry research with the attendees. Polls taking place during the course of the session revealed that 68% of the audience believed that the UK can still ‘level up’ post COVID-19. However, 64% believed that the pandemic will have significantly changed the UK’s economic landscape, indicating that while there is belief that the government can eventually reduce regional inequality, there will be new, disruptive challenges to face on the road to a ‘levelled up’ UK. The results of this research and all the polls can be viewed on the attached photo.

Looking forward, Copper’s webinar series continues with ‘Readying for the restart: Birmingham post COVID-19’ on 13 May 2020, which will evaluate the role infrastructure, construction and property development will have on Birmingham’s recovery. Following this, Copper will be delivering a session in partnership with CKDelta, which will be focused on using data to make the UK’s transport sector ‘recovery ready’.