The pandemic has undeniably had a disproportionate impact on the most disadvantaged within society. It has shone a spotlight on the regional economic disparities that already existed and have widened over the past few years.
The pandemic has also highlighted a heightened expectation from society that the organisations they work for or do business with should have a positive and transparent social impact.
The government has a mandate to make the UK a fairer economic environment, with clear buy-in from businesses, universities, NHS Trusts, local authorities, and community groups.
The challenge now is how we achieve that as we need a systematic and inclusive approach to make a real difference, and for government to succeed, big businesses need to play a key part.
Many companies are already working hard to try and address these inequalities.
However, these disparities can only be fully addressed if government and businesses work together to strengthen regional economic clusters and deliver on the government’s aspirations to ‘level up’ the UK.
In 2022, we will undoubtedly see more business decisions made that help not only an organisation's own people, but the communities in which they operate – whether through the support of schemes such as Kickstart or by gifting some of their apprenticeship levy funding to help smaller organisations develop and create new employment opportunities.