Industry

09 MAR 2022

EDITOR’S MESSAGE AND MARCH/APRIL 2022 MAGAZINE DOWNLOAD

Levelling up features strongly in the latest issue of Infrastructure Intelligence and, despite all the hype around the arrival of the government's keenly awaited white paper on the issue, it is real delivery on the ground that will make a difference, says Andy Walker in his latest editor's comment.

This edition of Infrastructure Intelligence has a strong focus on the government’s long-awaited levelling up white paper Launching the paper, minister Michael Gove outlined 12 “bold missions” which he claimed would shift focus and resources to Britain’s ‘forgotten’ communities. So, can the government deliver on its promises?

The early signs are not so good. Industry reaction to the white paper was mixed, with the prime minister’s flagship programme variously described as “a missed opportunity that fails to spread opportunity across UK” and criticised for setting one part of the UK against another. 

More regional devolution is being promised by the government as a key part of levelling up and the white paper recognises this cannot be delivered by Whitehall alone. The National Infrastructure Commission has welcomed steps to broaden devolution to empower more local leaders to develop tailored infrastructure plans as part of their growth strategies. However, words are cheap and the government needs to shift control from Westminster to the regions.

It’s likely that the elected metro mayors will have a key role to play in this regard, especially in the area of transport, but this will mean major reform to the way that local transport funding is allocated. Having local councils and city regions bidding against each other for small pots of cash is no way forward – we need to see long-term devolved funding deals that make a difference.

Despite all the hype around levelling up, it’s real delivery on the ground that will make a difference and, as ever, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

Andy Walker is the editor of Infrastructure Intelligence.

Click here to download the March/April 2022 edition of Infrastructure Intelligence.

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