The LGiU thinktank has set out six principles that it believes should underpin the Government’s forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.
In a report, On the level, authors Jonathan Carr-West and Janet Sillett identified these principles as:
- Clarity – "The White Paper has to clarify what the government means by levelling up whilst allowing flexibility for locally-targeted action and scope for local leaders to make it their own".
- Scope – "New levelling up funding and other funding related to it and local growth strategies, such as the Towns and UK Shared Prosperity funds should extend beyond investing in hard infrastructure projects to social infrastructure and to measures that address inequalities in areas such as health and skills, with support for early intervention measures such as early years programmes and childcare services."
- Partnership – "Local leaders have to be given the tools to be able to fully contribute as partners to the levelling up project. Levelling up needs to go hand in hand with a decentralisation of power to local and sub-national governments, based on A New Settlement for Place."
- Transparency – "There has to be complete transparency – both in relation to the data and information used for making decisions and the reasons why policy and funding decisions are made."
- Flexibility – "Levelling up has to be and be seen to be relevant to local places, reflecting the priorities of and differences between local authorities, their communities and partners."
- Accountability – "The levelling up White Paper needs to set out clear objectives and timescales – at national and disaggregated levels so that progress can be scrutinised and outcomes measured including developing metrics for place-based wellbeing policy."
Carr-West and Sillett said: “If levelling up is grounded in these core principles, it has the potential to offer real transformation. But it can only be effective if it is delivered in partnership with empowered and empowering councils. If we miss that opportunity it risks being remembered as an empty political slogan.”
The White Paper is expected sometime this autumn.