Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGIU said: “In the end, perhaps inevitably, the long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper doesn’t quite rise to its own challenge.
It sets out an analysis of the causes and impacts of regional economic disparities and proposes 12 missions to address these challenges. These give some clarity to what levelling up means, contain social as well as economic dimensions and have measurable metrics for success.
It’s far less clear how these missions will be accomplished. The structural reforms to local government and the specific policy measures announced feel piecemeal and, in the main, familiar.
Clarity, broader scope and accountability were all important elements that the LGIU wanted to see in this White Paper.
However, it’s not clear what the devolution proposals in the paper really amount to. Elected Mayors and county deals cannot drive levelling up unless they are full partners in that enterprise with genuine powers to shape local economies and communities.
If we want places around the country to level up and stay levelled up, we need to build genuine capacity. That can’t be done if local areas are kept dependent on Whitehall for funding and approval, going to them cap in hand.
Accomplishing the paper’s 12 missions would undoubtedly make a country a better place, but it remains to be seen whether the Government has the appetite to unlock the local innovation and autonomy that we will need to make that happen.”
Our latest report digests LGIU’s extensive research and analysis around levelling up and looks at the opportunities it offers and the risks it poses. On the level outlines the key principles that should underpin the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper: clarity, scope, partnership, transparency, flexibility and accountability.
The LGIU has, over the last two years, published a series of briefings and research papers for our members to try and clarify what levelling up will entail, whether it is a coherent policy and how local government can respond. This bundle brings together our extensive collection of materials around levelling up.
This long read examines the issues of health inequalities as we understood them before the pandemic, the impact of Covid-19 and what steps we can take to address inequity now.
You have access to our briefings service for free. Our team of expert associates produce over 300 briefings each year on topics ranging from children’s services and planning to local economic growth and Brexit. They are written in an easily digestible format for councillors and council staff. We also have an archive of 2,000+ briefings here if you’re looking for further background on any specific local government-related issues.
The Local Democracy Research Centre brings together experts from local government and academia to do practical research on some of the key challenges for local democracy around the world. Our research is guided and supported by LGIU’s global members. Through the Local Democracy Research Centre, we are developing a broad, international programme that engages universities and local authorities to develop new ideas and approaches for governance, municipalism and citizen participation. The projects are rooted in practice but draw on insights and ideas from academia.
LGIU (Local Government Information Unit) was established in 1983 as an independent, not-for-profit local authority membership organisation and think tank. Now as LGIU England & Wales, LGIU Scotland, LGIU Ireland and LGIU Australia we work for and with local authorities around the world, helping them to serve their citizens more effectively. Our members are councils and other organisations with an interest in local government.
We provide the unrivalled intelligence and support that officers and councillors need every day. We work with our members and other stakeholders to drive forward the ideas and solutions needed to provide sustainable public services in the future. And, we deliver the commentary that makes the value of local government clear to all.