William Eichler 24 August 2022

Levelling up little more than a ‘slogan’, MPs say

Levelling up little more than a ‘slogan’, MPs say image
Image: LINGTREN.COM / Shutterstock.com.

MPs have criticised the Government’s flagship levelling up Bill for a lack of clarity and funding commitments.

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has written to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Greg Clark MP, setting out the Committee’s initial findings following scrutiny of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

While the committee focused on the planning provisions in the Bill, it warned that the Bill contained little to ensure improvement in key areas such as transport, skills training or digital connectivity.

The MPs also warned that the Government is ‘yet to commit to the spending that is necessary to level up the country.’

In the letter, the committee expresses concern about the Bill’s lack of detail on planning provisions amid fears of a move to a more centralised approach to planning decisions. It describes the provisions as ‘loosely connected proposals to tinker with the current system’.

The committee also called on the Government to provide some clarity on how they were going to deliver 300,000 homes each year.

Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Clive Betts MP said: ‘In its current form, the Bill does little to reassure that levelling up will prove to be more than just a slogan and that we will have meaningful change in local communities across the country. In key areas, it is unclear how the Government intends to drive change and they are yet to commit to the spending that is necessary to level up the country.

‘Our inquiry has focused on the planning provisions in the Bill, which can be described as loosely connected proposals to tinker with the current system, hopefully achieving some improvement. It has been difficult to conduct scrutiny due to a lot of the detail of the provisions having not yet been published.

‘We were asked by the Secretary of State to give our view, and our advice is that more information is provided on what the Government’s intentions are, and that the Government states unambiguously that it is not seeking to centralise planning decisions.’

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