Skip to main content Skip to footer

Queen’s Speech a further opportunity to boost regional rebalancing agenda


The boost given to the Government’s regional rebalancing agenda in the recent local elections has been boosted further by the aims set out in the Queen’s Speech, according to a leading commercial property economist.

Commenting on the Queen’s Speech, Dr Walter Boettcher, head of Research & Economics, said: “The regional rebalancing agenda may have been given a fresh boost by the local election results, but even more decisive was its inclusion in the Queen’s Speech, where it was promoted as a key to underpinning the COVID-19 economic recovery strategy.

“While the local election results gave the Government an unequivocal mandate to accelerate their regional development, the Queen’s Speech has made clear that regional rebalancing will be a legislative priority for the coming session of Parliament.”

However, Dr Boettcher added that while the Conservatives had fared well compared to Labour at the polls, it was clear from the results of the ‘Metro Mayor’ elections that there was no room for complacency.

“Interestingly, the Conservatives lost ground in their relatively new devolved regional mayoral system with only Andy Street in Birmingham and Ben Houchen in Tees Valley retaining their seats.

“How this impacts the focus of central government infrastructural investment remains to be seen, given that the innovative elements of their devolution development programme is not widely appreciated by all but a few Conservatives who were there when it was launched by George Osborne in 2014. Nevertheless, strong support for the Northern Powerhouse is still evident in the Labour stronghold of the North West.”

Dr Boettcher cautioned that Scotland posed a different set of development challenges for Boris Johnson’s government because of its “additional tier of government and a leadership intent on organising another independence referendum.” 

But he added: “Judging by sterling’s sudden strength following the local elections, investors do not look overly ‘spooked’ by the possibility of a new referendum.

“Despite pro-independence media briefings, the Scottish election results looks less than compelling to many investors given the lack of an outright majority by its leading proponent; hence expectations may be that an early referendum is unlikely.

“This gives the Conservative government time to implement its own much delayed national regional rebalancing manifesto, nurture the fledgling post-COVID-19 economic recovery that is increasingly apparent, and manage a further bedding in of post-Brexit trade and relations. Barring any new misfortunes or delays in implementing their legislative programme, time may be on the UK Government’s side.” 

Related Experts

Walter Boettcher

Head of Research and Economics

Research and Forecasting

London - West End

As Head of Research and Economics at global property advisors Colliers based in London, I lead a team of researchers identifying timely research topics and directing research and forecasting outputs. I have 25+ years of UK and European property industry experience and extensive expertise across a wide range of sectors and related industries. I participate regularly in industry panel discussions, but am focused more on direct client engagement with institutions, property companies, banks, and private investors. A regular media commentator, I have a wide range of national publication and broadcast experience. I joined Colliers International in August 2007 after several years at a private property company where I was responsible for managing a mixed portfolio of London residential, retail and office assets. Previously, I worked in a few London property advisory firms, a geodemographic company as well as a few youthful sojourns in the US offshore oil industry, local government and entertainment business. I am an economics graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a  PhD from the Faculty of Science at University College London.  I am a member of the London Property Economics Forum and  Society of Property Researchers.

Perhaps best known for my alternative take on property economics and investment, I am a keen proponent of UK regional development and infrastructure investment.

View expert