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Levelling Up White Paper Puts Forward Plans to Tackle Economic and Social Disparities

News Thought Leadership 02 February 2022

As part of the Government’s focus on responding to the need for investment across all part of the United Kingdom, the Levelling Up White Paper has been launched today, covering 12 missions it wants to achieve by 2030. There is a focus on employability, supporting people to gain high-quality skills and wider plans to improve wellbeing.

The White Paper also commits to tackling crime in the worst-affected areas and confirms an intention to offer every part of England an enhanced devolution deal and long-term funding settlement similar to existing Mayoral Combined Authorities.

As part of the specific devolution mission in England, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be decentralised, handing local leaders more say in its application.

Ian Porée, the Chief Executive of Seetec, an employee-owned business group, has welcomed the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper:

“The Government’s ambition to spread opportunity and prosperity to all parts of the United Kingdom, which runs as a key theme throughout the Levelling Up White Paper, should be welcomed. Seetec recently set out several recommendations for the Government to take forward as part of the White Paper, including the need for greater collaboration between national and regional leaders. It is therefore good to see that Michael Gove has decided that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund should be decentralised to a large extent to local leaders – with a focus on improving people’s skills and targeted investment to regenerate communities.

“There is a gap in the twelve missions that the Government wants to achieve by 2030. A stronger commitment to social mobility in the White Paper would have complemented the direction of travel. One of the missions could have been to set out a renewed focus, including a commitment to set out a specific action plan, to enhance social mobility across the regions to provide everyone with the same opportunity to achieve and succeed. This commitment would also need to be matched by a far more longer-term package of funding support, that also pump-primes the other missions. The Treasury’s role will be pivotal in making a success of the White Paper, recent news that Government borrowing is expected to be lower this year than forecast in the Budget will give the Chancellor more room to manoeuvre to deliver on the Levelling Up agenda.

“The real test for the overarching aims of the White Paper will be how the policy intent is delivered on the ground, with a need for appropriate funding to address the economic and social disparities that have been a part of the United Kingdom’s geography for many decades.”

Read the Levelling Up White Paper.


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