Laura Sharman 28 September 2020

‘Lack of direction’ putting levelling up agenda at risk, warns report

A lack of strategy from the Government is the greatest barrier to levelling up the country, a new report has warned today.

A new report from Centre for Cities argues it is a lack of political direction rather than public spending rules that is putting levelling up plans at risk.

The report warns the current levelling up plans are too Whitehall-centric. It calls on local councils to be given more power and responsibility to deliver infrastructure, housing and adult education projects.

It also wants the ‘largest restructuring of English local government for generations’ by replacing county and district councils with directly-elected political leaders.

Centre for Cities’ chief executive, Andrew Carter, said: ‘While the overall principles enshrined in the Green Book are correct, our struggling cities and towns will not be levelled up by directives from Whitehall. This can only be done by democratically accountable local politicians with the knowledge to select the right projects for their area – not by Treasury officials choosing between different parts of the country.

’The time has now come to confirm exactly what they want levelling up to achieve, and commit the money necessary to achieve it.’

A government spokesperson said: 'We’ve set out a clear commitment to level up all areas of the country by empowering our regions through devolving money, resources and control away from Westminster. The devolution White Paper will set out our detailed plans.

'We’re helping to share prosperity and levelling up across the country by investing in transport, technology, skills and culture through our £3.6bn Towns Fund.

'We’re continuing the review of the Green Book and our processes for allocating spending to ensure that all regions and nations of the UK have the opportunity to spread and drive growth.'

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