This Government has become synonymous with the phrase ‘levelling up’ since promising it to voters at the 2019 General Election. While it is a phrase that is much used in political circles, it hasn’t yet been defined.
In advance of the publication of the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper, scheduled for autumn, this briefing argues that levelling up should have two goals; firstly, to improve living standards and opportunity across the country, especially in places where it is lagging on a range of metrics and secondly, to help every place reach its ‘productivity potential’ with a focus on the underperformance of UK cities.
Productivity potential varies because different parts of the country play very different roles in the economy, due to the inherent advantages they offer to businesses. For this reason, not everywhere in the UK is equally productive.
The problem for the UK economy is that most of its big cities make poor use of their inherent advantages and so only through addressing the economic underperformance of these places, can the Government achieve its goals of levelling up the UK.
The briefing outlines that in order to deliver on its goals, the Government should: