The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) represents the companies, large and small, that design, deliver and manage our built environment. Its members are the delivery partners of choice for government on “levelling up” projects and programmes.
Commenting on the release of the Levelling Up White Paper, 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.”
“ACE is looking forward to continuing its role as a practical partner on levelling up, and will engage with the Government on the forthcoming Levelling up and regeneration bill which was previewed in the White Paper.”
Commenting on the release of the Levelling Up White Paper, Peter Hogg chair of ACE’s places group, and UK cities director at Arcadis, said:
“Our own proposals shared last November outlined a practical five-step process to deliver levelling up. While the White Paper has gone some way to enabling this, we still feel it is a missed opportunity for a rounded financial framework which allows all local communities to truly flourish.
“The headline announcement around the 20 cities earmarked for investment, as well as the range of funds mentioned in the paper, demonstrate the core issue. While welcome for the areas lucky enough to have ‘won’, replacing competition and ring-fenced funds with consolidated longer-term funding for local government would enable a joined-up approach – crucial if we are to meet the significant challenges of building more prosperous, healthy and productive communities, while delivering a Net Zero built environment.
“Additionally, smaller towns and rural areas often lack the in-house planning, placemaking and design expertise to pull together compelling strategies, build business cases, and put forward viable regeneration projects. As such, the current approach unfortunately still runs the risk of creating winners and losers, when we should be spreading opportunity more equally.”