Government unveils levelling up plan - CILT(UK)
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The Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has unveiled the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper. This document will set out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

To view the White Paper in full, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-the-united-kingdom

At the heart of this new way of making and implementing policy will be 12 bold, national missions - all quantifiable and to be achieved by 2030. These missions are the policy objectives for levelling up, and thus form the heart of the government’s agenda for the 2020s.

These missions will be cross-government, cross-society efforts. The first mission, for instance, will see pay, employment, and productivity grow everywhere, and the disparities between the top and worst performing areas narrow. This is the first time a government has placed narrowing spatial economic disparities at the heart of its agenda.

The Research & Development (R&D) mission will see domestic public R&D investment outside the Greater South East increase by at least 40% by 2030, with these funds leveraging a huge increase in private investment in these areas too.

By 2030, other missions will see:

  • the rest of the country’s local public transport systems becoming much closer to London standards
  • the large majority of the country gain access to 5G broadband
  • illiteracy and innumeracy in primary school leavers effectively eliminated - focussing the government’s education efforts on the most disadvantaged parts of the country

Other missions will see: hundreds of thousands more people completing high quality skills training every year, gross disparities in healthy life expectancy narrowed, the number of poor quality rented homes halved, the most run down town centres and communities across the country rejuvenated, a significant decrease in serious crime in the most blighted areas, and every part of England getting a ‘London-style’ devolution deal if they wish to.

The government will do whatever it can to achieve these missions. Government’s resources, energy, and focus throughout the 2020s will be re-oriented around achieving them - and thus squarely focussed on helping the people and parts of the country most struggling. Whilst the missions are UK-wide ambitions, in the many instances where they are driven by devolved policy levers, the UK government wishes to work hand in hand with the devolved governments to achieve them.

The missions will be underpinned by a suite of public metrics to track progress and monitor the evolution of spatial disparities. The government will legislate such that it has a statutory duty to publish an annual report updating the public on the progress of these missions, with a new Levelling Up Advisory Council including members such as Sir Paul Collier, renowned economist at Oxford’s Blavatnik’s School of Government, providing further support and constructive analysis.

Other parts of the ‘system change’ include: all policy across Whitehall being aligned with the levelling up agenda and therefore subject to spatial analysis, and a transformation of the government’s approach to data and evaluation - with a new independent body created to improve transparency of local government performance.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:

“The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story. We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies. Ours is the world’s most spoken language. We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.

“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.

“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.

“This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our 12 new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”

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