On Wednesday, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP finally shared the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper.
Following a string of media announcements over the proceeding days, the White Paper launch itself didn’t reveal much that had not already been shared, but there was still plenty of detail in the 300 plus page report to digest on a key topic for ACE members.
The overarching take-away from an ACE perspective was that it was a missed opportunity for progress around funding. Our own report, Levelling Up: Five Principals for Success, which was recently released in November 2021, outlined a range of recommendations including the need to reduce competitive funding and support smaller local authorities to develop compelling and truly transformative levelling up projects.
Commenting on its release, Guto Davies, Head of Policy at ACE said: “While the ‘12 national missions’ are welcome to drive activity and ensure spending remains both targeted and on track, they are nothing without properly structured long-term financing for local government to realise these political ambitions. Our concern is that the current approach remains too compartmentalised to be truly effective.
“We do, however, welcome the longer-term view on levelling up. The truth is there is no panacea and only sustained investment over the longer-term will address systemic and chronic issues.”
The chair of ACE’s places group, Peter Hogg (Arcadis) wrote a comment piece originally published in Infrastructure Intelligence analysing the White Paper in more detail. He argued it was a, “missed opportunity for a more rounded policy which allows all local communities to truly flourish.”
ACE’s exclusive briefing is available to download below now to those who work at a member-firm, have registered at our website with their work email, and who are logged in.