Thursday, February 03, 2022

Levelling Up

This week the Conservative government released a Levelling Up White Paper, setting out plans: to spread opportunity and prosperity across the whole UK

Conservatives want to level up the UK and break the link between geography and destiny so no matter where you live, you have the same opportunities. 

That is the object of the Levelling Up White Paper: our plan for transforming the UK by raising living standards, spreading opportunity, improving our public services, and restoring people’s sense of pride in their community – particularly in places that have felt left behind for decades.

As we build back better from Covid-19, we will seize this moment to create a better quality of life for people in every part of the UK, so everyone can access the opportunities they need to succeed.

We are levelling up the whole of the UK by: 

  • Improving education and raising numeracy and literacy standards across the country, giving people the tools they need to succeed. 55 new Education Investment Areas will drive further school improvements in places where attainment is lowest, with intensive investment available for these areas to increase teacher retention and address wider societal issues. Our new UK National Academy is a free Digital Education Service that will help children from all backgrounds develop skills and succeed.
  • Increasing local leadership by introducing a new model of devolution for counties and giving every part of England the opportunity to gain new powers. Every part of England that wants one will have a devolution deal with powers and a simplified, long-term funding settlement. Trailblazer deeper devolution deals with the West Midlands and Greater Manchester combined authorities are set to begin. We will simultaneously strengthen transparency so that local leaders are accountable.
  • Increasing R&D investment and making sure that more of it is outside the South East, stimulating innovation and productivity growth. Public R&D investment outside the Greater South East will increase by at least one third over the Spending Review period, and we are targeting £100 million of investment into three new Innovation Accelerators – private-public-academic partnerships that will replicate the success of the Stanford-Silicon Valley collaboration in Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow.
  • Bringing London levels of local transport connectivity to the regions, improving services with simpler fares and integrated ticketing. We will implement the £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan, improve the rail network in the North and Midlands and invest £24 billion in our busiest roads and motorways, £5.7 billion in City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements and £5 billion for buses, cycling and walking networks.
  • Regenerating local communities, making sure that everyone can feel pride in place. We are making sure that local leaders can use our £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund to invest in local priorities, and we are regenerating 20 of our towns and cities by using brownfield land to bring about transformation developments, creating thriving neighbourhoods and high streets. We are also improving greenbelts and delivering over 800 new football pitches to support local sport. 
  • Making sure that levelling up runs through all Government decisions, so that we deliver on our promises. We will use the power of public procurement to support local communities and shift resources to local areas, including moving 22,000 civil servants out of London by 2030. We will publish an annual report analysing progress on levelling up and establish a new external Levelling Up Advisory Council to support Ministers by advising on the design, delivery and impact of levelling up policy.

Boosting productivity, pay, jobs, and living standards

  • Unleashing the power of business, making sure that pay, employment and productivity rise in every area of the UK, boosting living standards. The private sector is the engine of wealth creation, so we are improving our regulatory regime now that we have left the EU, improving access to finance for SMEs through our £1.6 billion British Business Bank and £1.4 billion Global Britain Investment Fund, and making it easier for pension funds to invest in assets that support local areas.
  • Improving digital connectivity by rolling out gigabit-capable broadband across the country, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population by 2030. Our £5 billion Project Gigabit and Shared Rural Network will deliver digital connectivity across the UK. 

Spreading opportunities and improving public services

  • Unleashing the power of business, making sure that pay, employment and productivity rise in every area of the UK, boosting living standards. The private sector is the engine of wealth creation, so we are improving our regulatory regime now that we have left the EU, improving access to finance for SMEs through our £1.6 billion British Business Bank and £1.4 billion Global Britain Investment Fund, and making it easier for pension funds to invest in assets that support local areas.  
  • Improving digital connectivity by rolling out gigabit-capable broadband across the country, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population by 2030. Our £5 billion Project Gigabit and Shared Rural Network will deliver digital connectivity across the UK.

Restoring a sense of community, local pride and belonging

  • Increasing the number of first-time buyers and improving the quality of rented housing, giving people greater confidence in their own homes. We are helping more first-time buyers on the property ladder through our Help to Buy scheme and will increase the number of low deposit mortgages available. We will introduce legislation to improve the quality of social housing and end ‘no fault’ evictions.  
  • Cutting serious violent and neighbourhood crime, making sure that everyone feels safe in their community. Our Safer Streets Fund will help police forces and local authorities tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, and we will make sure 16 and 17 year olds who commit crimes pay their community back with visible labour to improve the local environment. 
  • Giving local leaders and communities the tools they need to succeed
  • Transforming our approach to data and evaluation, improving local decision-making. The ONS will improve the UK’s subnational data, giving leaders across the UK the information they need to deliver, experiment and evaluate policies swiftly and effectively.

Our Conservative record on levelling up:

  • Increasing overall skills spending by £3.8 billion over this Parliament, turbocharging productivity, wages and prospects for all. This real terms increase of 26 per cent will fund more hours learning for 16-19 year olds, expanding T Levels, more traineeships, funding the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, upgrading our further education college estate, quadrupling the number of places on our skills bootcamps, and spending record sums on apprenticeships.
  • Investing an additional £4.7 billion per year on schools funding, investing in our children. We are committing another £4.7 billion per year by 2024 to lift real terms per pupil spending to historic 2010 levels – a cash uplift of over £1,500 per pupil.
  • Increasing spending on healthcare by £44 billion over the course of this Parliament, improving health outcomes across our country. Resource spending on health services will increase to over £177 billion and we will deliver at least 100 Community Diagnostic Centres and 40 new hospitals.
  • Investing £11.5 billion through our Affordable Homes Programme, improving access to high quality affordable housing. Our Affordable Homes Programme will deliver up to 180,000 homes by 2028-9, with 65 per cent of the funding for delivery of homes outside London.
  • Establishing a £500 million Beeching Reversal Fund, reconnecting towns and villages across England. The Fund will restore rail lines in the north of England and Midlands, which were cut off from the rest of the network during the 1960s.
  • Channelling investment in green industry across the UK, creating skilled and well-paid jobs. The £140 million Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme and £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund will support innovative hydrogen projects across the UK. Our £160 million investment in offshore wind power hubs will create and safeguard at least 2,500 jobs in Teesside, Humberside and the North-East, ultimately enabling the sector to support up to 60,000 jobs by 2030.
  • Improving local and civic infrastructure with our £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund. We have announced the first £1.7 billion of allocations, which will fund over 100 projects to improve local infrastructure, including a new medical training facility in Bolton, the regeneration of Doncaster Town Centre, and upgrades to coastal attractions in Southend-on-Sea, among others.
  • Making £3.6 billion available for towns to kickstart local projects, driving growth and improving the environment in 101 towns. The Towns Fund will invest in transport, technology, skills, and culture in towns across the country.
  • Investing £830 million into 72 high streets and town centres, restoring high streets to their former glory. Our Future High Streets Fund is helping communities redevelop high streets, improve transport and access to town centres, and turn empty retail units into homes and workspace.
  • Providing the largest funding settlement to the devolved administrations since devolution in 1998 – making sure everyone across the UK can access high-quality public services. This Budget increases Scottish Government funding by an average of £4.6 billion per year, Welsh Government funding by £2.5 billion per year, and £1.6 billion per year for the Northern Ireland Executive.




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