Mark Whitehead 26 May 2023

Levelling up will fail without long-term funding

Levelling up will fail without long-term funding image
Image: EtiAmmos / Shutterstock.com.

The Government’s levelling up policy will fail without long-term funding for councils, MPs have warned.

They say local authorities who most require prioritising within the policy should be allocated money through revenue to achieve objectives in line with their local circumstances and need.

In a report the House of Commons cross-party levelling up, housing and communities committee criticises the policy’s delivery, allocation and funding methods, and the competitive bidding processes involved in obtaining funds.

It says the Department for Levelling Up has ‘limited strategic oversight and has failed to coordinate these funds across departments’.

The committee’s chair Clive Betts said: ‘There is cross-party consensus in tackling the regional and local inequalities that are holding back communities across the country.

‘But the complexity of the levelling up challenges mean they cannot be remedied by the Government’s current approach of one-off short-term initiatives.

‘The Government should heed the lessons of projects such as German reunification which were accompanied by long-term funding and internationally recognised for the benefits delivered in terms of long-term, substantive growth.

‘The levelling up policy requires a long-term and substantive strategy and funding approach, elements this policy currently lacks.

‘Without this shift, levelling up risks joining the short-term Government growth initiatives which came before it.’

Commenting on the report, Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) People and Places Board, said: ‘Levelling up has the potential to transform people’s lives and livelihoods, with councils best placed to make this happen.

‘This should be locally led by evidence of where crucial investment needs to go to, not based on costly competitive bids between areas, as this important report confirms.’

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