Ground-breaking new Inquiry will help post-pandemic Britain successfully navigate a decade of unprecedented economic change

The 2020s will see the UK experience unprecedented economic change – driven by the triple shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the transition to a Net Zero future – but the country lacks a plan to successfully navigate the decade ahead.

This is the challenge posed in a ground-breaking new collaboration between the Resolution Foundation and the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics (LSE), supported by a £1.8 million grant from the Nuffield Foundation.

The Economy 2030 Inquiry is a three-year project to explore the nature of economic change that the UK is living through, and start a national conversation about what this means for people, places and firms.

It will then set out a framework for successfully navigating the challenges and opportunities these changes will bring, with proposals for economic reform to drive strong, sustainable growth, and significant improvements to people’s living standards and well-being.

The backdrop to the Inquiry is a decade bookended by two ‘once-in-a-generation’ economic crises, a slump in productivity and stagnating living standards. While the immediate focus is understandably on the nature of the recovery from Covid-19, the reshaping of the UK’s economy will if anything be more lastingly driven by our emergence from the EU, transitions towards a Net Zero future, predictable demographic shifts, and unpredictable technological change.

The Inquiry will be overseen by a Commission, made up of some of the world’s leading economists and policy thinkers, including:

  • Baroness Minouche Shafik, Director of London School of Economics and Political Science;
  • Sir Clive Cowdery, Founder of the Resolution Foundation and chairman of the Resolution Group;
  • Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University;
  • Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress;
  • Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Former Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry;
  • Lord Nicholas Stern, I G Patel Chair of Economics and Government, LSE; and,
  • Adam Tooze, Professor of History, Columbia University

The work of the Inquiry will be carried out by researchers at the Resolution Foundation and the LSE, with the support of an advisory board. It will include a major work programme examining the lived experience of the UK economy from the perspective of workers, consumers and citizens. This will see surveys, focus groups and citizens’ juries informing the project throughout its life. A final report will be delivered in Summer 2023.

The Economy 2030 Inquiry will be formally launched with a major new report and event on Tuesday 18th May.

Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said:

“As vaccines are rolled out, debates are turning to how to recover well from Covid-19 and the deepest downturn for 300 years it created. While crucial, this is only part of the task ahead of us. The UK is poised for a decade of unprecedented economic change as it not only emerges from the pandemic, but also finds its post-Brexit place in the world, and ramps up its zero-carbon transition.

“Together with technological and demographic change, these shifts pose fundamental questions about our economy at a time when the country lacks a clear sense of its path to prosperity. Successfully navigating the 2020s requires both a better understanding of what the country is going through, and a proper plan to shape the UK’s economic future. These are the tasks the Economy 2030 Inquiry will address.”

Stephen Machin, Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE, said:

“The current crisis has acted to magnify pre-existing economic and social inequalities. The Inquiry will examine how best to create a future that is fair and inclusive, proposing solutions which will help us meet the significant challenges ahead. As we rebuild the world, we need to rethink how to make the economy work better for all.”

 Tim Gardam, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation said:

“The Economy 2030 Inquiry will provide a holistic, forward looking approach to identifying and responding to the economic challenges facing the UK in the decade ahead. In collaboration, the Resolution Foundation and the LSE will combine academic rigour with public engagement to actively inform public policy during a period of fundamental change, and pinpoint opportunities to reframe the UK’s economic system. By putting people, places and firms at its heart, the Inquiry has the potential to help us move towards a more just and inclusive society.

“We are pleased to fund such an ambitious and innovative project through our Strategic Fund. The Inquiry aligns with our ambition to increase the scale, scope and influence of the Nuffield Foundation’s funding.”

 Notes to Editors

  • For more information about the Economy 2030 Inquiry, including the launch report and event on Tuesday 18th May, contact Rob Holdsworth in the RF press office on 07921 236 972.
  • The Economy 2030 Inquiry is a collaboration between the Resolution Foundation and the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics (LSE), and is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
  • The Nuffield Foundation is an independent charitable trust with a mission to advance social well-being. It funds research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare, and Justice. It also funds student programmes that provide opportunities for young people to develop skills in quantitative and scientific methods. The Nuffield Foundation is the founder and co-funder of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Ada Lovelace Institute and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. The Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation. Visit