What does Levelling Up actually mean? Inside Michael Goves plan – 12 key ‘missions’

Rishi Sunak grilled by Robert Peston on ‘levelling up’

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Levelling Up has become a key phrase linked to the current Conservative Government, with Boris Johnson making it a key facet of his election campaign in 2019. The Prime Minister has labelled it the “most comprehensive, ambitious plan” of its kind that the country has ever seen. Nonetheless, it can be misunderstood by what the term exactly stands for. Here’s a full breakdown of the Tories Levelling Up scheme.

What does Levelling Up mean?

Levelling Up is the label the Government has given to its plan to reduce inequality between regions of the UK.

Historically, London and parts of southeast England have benefited from greater social and financial development than other areas – for example, northeast England.

The Government has called it the “biggest shift of power from Whitehall to local leaders in modern times announced”, with every part of England to get “London-style” powers and a mayor should they want to.

Manchester and Liverpool provide instances of where a mayoral system is already in place.

Wages, qualification levels and even life expectancy differ significantly across the UK.

Recent figures have shown that men in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea are on average expected to live 11 years longer than those in Wolverhampton.

Likewise, in Birmingham one in 10 people of working age have no formal qualifications, compared to 3.5 percent in Bristol.

Altogether, the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper is made up of 12 national missions to be achieved by 2030 and enshrined in a flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

These are as follows:

Increasing pay, employment and productivity in every area of the UK, with each containing a globally competitive city.

Growing domestic public investment in research and development outside the greater southeast by at least 40 percent and at least one third over the Spending Review period.

Ensuring that local public transport connectivity across the country becomes significantly closer to the standards of London, with improved services, simpler fares and integrated ticketing.

Installing 5G coverage across the majority of the UK.

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Improving on the number of primary school children who achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and maths. In England, this will mean 90 percent of children will achieve the expected standard.

Ramping up the number of people who successfully complete high-quality skills training in every area of the UK.

Narrowing the gap in Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest.

Closing the gap between the best and worst performing areas with regards to well-being across the British Isles.

Giving people a renewed sense of pride in where they live, including people’s satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community.

Renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas. Here, the Government’s ambition is for the number of unsatisfactory rented accommodation to have fallen by 50 percent..

Greatly reducing levels of homicide, serious violence, and neighbourhood crime.

Allowing every part of England that wants one to take advantage of a devolution deal with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution and a simplified, long-term funding settlement.

Commenting on the proposals, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story.

“We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies. Ours is the world’s most spoken language.

“We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.

“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued.

“As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.

“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.”

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