Our latest thinking on the issues that matter most in economic and social development through our Viewpoint series, and our latest published reports. Our older Viewpoint ‘thought piece’ publications are available from the archive.


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May 2020
The £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund was launched by the British Business Bank in 2017 to support small businesses in the Midlands. Our Early Assessment Report found that the Fund has helped to create 629 jobs, with 37 per cent paying above the UK upper quartile income of £36,500 a year.
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May 2020
The Fund of Funds is a holding vehicle through which Invest NI organises the delivery of a continuum of risk capital funding, from start-up finance to development capital. SQW's interim evaluation found that this structure provides a robust mechanism to oversee delivery of a suite of access to finance funds in Northern Ireland, at a relatively low cost.
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May 2020
The Office for Budget Responsibility’s reference scenario implies that the manufacturing sector will be one of the worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis with a fall in output of 55% in the second quarter. Manufacturing is particularly important to the economies of the Midlands and North of England, so the impacts of Covid-19 will hit these areas disproportionately hard.
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May 2020
Over recent years, the future of towns has attracted much debate. This Viewpoint argues that the current COVID-19 crisis makes the focus on towns more, not less, important. It also considers how towns might use the tools that have been made available to them to define a new and stronger future.
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April 2020
Our chapter in the recently-published book, Productivity Perspectives, reviewed the changes in aspects of productivity policy from 1997 to 2018. It traced the overarching narrative associated with productivity policy, and focussed in on policies relating to innovation, business support, skills and regional development.
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March 2020
SQW’s study into the economic and wider benefits of the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (previously known as the Rainbow Seed Fund) has been published.
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