Ahead of the publication of the Government’s landmark Levelling Up White Paper this autumn, Local London has commissioned Localis to work with us on our submission.
The respected think tank will produce a narrative outlining our sub-region’s case for levelling up support and devise a set of new policy ideas. We want to ensure that levelling up means the Government’s focus is on need.
The Local London sub-region is one of the poorest in the UK therefore the government’s levelling up agenda is very relevant to us; 20% of our neighbourhoods are in the 20% of most deprived areas in the country and 28% of people earn below the London Living Wage. We have 389 businesses per 10,000 residents which is well below the national and London-wide average.
The pandemic has hit our region hard. Over 31% of workers were on furlough at one point. There are sectors such as arts, recreation and food that were particularly badly hit with over 50% furloughed at one point.
There is clearly a tangible benefit in investing and supporting communities across Local London to ensure they can level up against other parts of the country.
The Localis paper will form a key part of our public affairs strategy for 2021-23.
Additionally, Local London is lobbying for funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund – which replaces all former EU pots.
Had we stayed in the EU, the Local London region was set to receive about £1 billion in European social funding between 2021-7 to help it level-up and support growth.
The EU divides London into five sub regions for funding purposes, and our geography mirrors the ‘Outer London East and North East’ sub region. This is now classified as one of the UK’s ‘less developed’ regions alongside Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, West Wales & Valleys, Tees Valley & Durham, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and South Scotland.
The Government has promised to replace European funding streams with various pots including the UK Shared Prosperity and Levelling Up funds. We will be lobbying to ensure Government recognises our unique situation when it makes decisions. All too often, Local London falls foul of stereotypes that all of the capital is prosperous.
On 4 May 2021, the Government announced it would publish “a landmark Levelling Up White Paper” in the autumn “articulating how bold new policy interventions will improve opportunity and boost livelihoods across the country as we recover from the pandemic.”
A government press release added: “Despite the challenges of Covid-19, levelling up and ensuring that the whole UK can benefit from the same access to opportunities remains core to the Government’s vision.
“The White Paper will focus on challenges including improving living standards, growing the private sector and increasing and spreading opportunity.
“It accompanies work being undertaken to repair the damage done by Covid to public services, with backlogs in hospitals and courts prioritised alongside school catch ups and jobs.
A new No10 – Cabinet Office Unit will be set up to drive through work on the White Paper and the Prime Minister has also appointed Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough, as his Levelling Up Adviser.”
Localis is an independent, leading not-for-profit think tank that was established in 2001.