Power must be decentralised and rebalanced around the needs of local places if the Government’s aim if levelling up is to be met, a report has argued today.
The new report, published by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), warns against ‘a blinkered and badly timed rush’ to impose new structures on local government.
Instead, Power Down to Level Up: Resilient Place-Shaping for a Post-Covid Age calls for more fiscal devolution, citizen-centred public services, cutting Whitehall red tape, promoting a sustainable local economy and strengthening local public health.
Andrew Walker, head of research at the LGIU, said: ‘Councils managing the shock of Covid-19 in local areas lack the powers, resources, data and infrastructure they need from Whitehall to do their job. Instead, many policy levers are jealously guarded by central government. This follows the disruption and uncertainty created by Brexit, which has so far been met with centrally mandated initiatives like the Government’s “levelling up” agenda.
’The Government’s aim of levelling up and building back better in local communities will only be achieved with a local, place-focussed approach to governance. As outlined in today’s report, local councils need the resources and levers to undertake place-shaping that promotes the well-being and resilience of communities and citizens across the UK.’