Today, the government publishes its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper, which lays out a blueprint for spreading opportunity more equally across the country. 

Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, shares a regeneration programme that would see public investment in research and development increase by at least 40% in areas of Britain, and pledges ‘the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders across England in modern times’. The paper claims to offer ‘radical new policies’, to be achieved by 2030.  

Gove said: “For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued”, adding “Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.” 

As The Young Foundation’s Chief Executive, Helen Goulden, digests the substance of today’s 400-page white paper and examines the detail of its 12 national ‘missions’, she stresses the need for action and change: 

“Billions of pounds and decades of interventions have failed to tackle inequalities within and across the UK,” Goulden says. “Missions or targets, new money or old, 400 pages or 40 – it’s all about the implementation, and won’t mean anything unless there is real commitment to devolution of power, and communities having a voice in how change happens with some meaningful measures of success.” 

In July 2021, The Young Foundation’s Institute for Community Studies published Why don’t they ask us?, a report exploring the role of communities in levelling up. This work put forward three concrete recommendations; proposing the creation of a new ‘Levelling Up Commission’, a drive to create or bolster local partnerships to advise this Commission, and a move to more equitable distribution of asset ownership, putting local hubs in the hands of the people that use them. 

Today’s white paper launches a decade-long project to level up Britain. Noting its aim to set out ‘a complete system change’, Goulden said: “In the coming days, weeks and months, we will continue to unpick and debate the government’s plan, considering the impact it may have on communities, social innovation and locally-led collaboration”. 

Inequality Posted on: 2 February 2022


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