Levelling Up White Paper published

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) has published the Levelling Up White Paper. The White Paper aims to close the gap between rich and poor areas by 2030 through improving services such as education, broadband and transport. It sets out 12 ambitions covering a variety of themes where inequality is experienced across the country.

Michael Gove said it would mean people can "take back control of their lives". But Lisa Nandy, Labour's shadow levelling up secretary asked: "Seriously, is this it? This system is completely broken and he's given us more of the same."

Researchers criticised the lack of detail. The Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested the government may have chosen its destination "with no sense" of how to get there. There is little in the way of additional funding announced and we await an implementation plan for the strategy.

IPPR North said, “What we’ve seen so far suggests that the white paper is a step in the right direction - with a commitment to broadening and deepening devolution, and ambitious missions. What remains nebulous in the white paper is whether the policy plans set will have adequate investment behind them. Without it, government rhetoric will fail, once again, to turn into reality. This white paper sets the right ambitions, but it also requires a radical reimagining of where power lies. More devolution is welcome, but it should be open to all areas and not just a few selected on a competitive basis or cherry-picked by government."

IFS director Paul Johnson said, “This white paper recognises the scale of the levelling up challenge. That lack of quick fixes, the long term perspective, and clarity about objectives are all very welcome, as is the recognition that real progress will require a change in governance in Whitehall and beyond. This is all just a very first step though. The targets are largely in the right areas, but many look extremely ambitious - that is to say highly unlikely to be met, even with the best policies and much resource. There is little detail on how most of them will be met, and less detail on available funding. There is something for everyone, and hence little sense of prioritisation: ambition and resource will be spread very thin."


The 12 Missions to Level Up the UK

1. By 2030, pay, employment and productivity will have risen in every area of the UK, with each containing a globally competitive city, with the gap between the top performing and other areas closing.

2. By 2030, domestic public investment in Research & Development outside the Greater South East will increase by at least 40% and at least one third over the Spending Review period, with that additional government funding seeking to leverage at least twice as much private sector investment over the long term to stimulate innovation and productivity growth.

3. By 2030, local public transport connectivity across the country will be significantly closer to the standards of London, with improved services, simpler fares and integrated ticketing.

4. By 2030, the UK will have nationwide gigabit-capable broadband and 4G coverage, with 5G coverage for the majority of the population.

5. By 2030, the number of primary school children achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths will have significantly increased. In England, this will mean 90% of children will achieve the expected standard, and the percentage of children meeting the expected standard in the worst performing areas will have increased by over a third.

6. By 2030, the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high-quality skills training annually, driven by 80,000 more people completing courses in the lowest skilled areas.

7. By 2030, the gap in Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest will have narrowed, and by 2035 HLE will rise by 5 years.

8. By 2030, well-being will have improved in every area of the UK, with the gap between top performing and other areas closing.

9. By 2030, pride in place, such as people’s satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community, will have risen in every area of the UK, with the gap between the top performing and other areas closing.

10. By 2030, renters will have a secure path to ownership with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas.

11. By 2030, homicide, serious violence, and neighbourhood crime will have fallen, focused on the worst-affected areas.

12. By 2030, every part of England that wants one will have a devolution deal with powers at or approaching the highest level of devolution and a simplified, long-term funding settlement.


People with "severe or specific learning disabilities" had the worst job retention and re-employment statistics* of any disability group for 2018-19 with 23.7% moving out of work, 95% remaining out of work and only 5% moving back into work.
* https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/the-employment-of-disabled-people-2021 (Table 25a of the data tables)

The plan contains a section about disability employment support but there doesn't seem to be anything new within the plan. IAPT, the IPES programme and the Work and Health Programme are to be extended as previously announced.

Employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions

The UK Government is committed to supporting more disabled people and people with health conditions into work through a range of initiatives. Last year the UK Government set out a package of measures to help reduce ill health-related job loss. The package followed a public consultation called Health Is Everyone’s Business, which included measures focused on improving employers’ access to occupational health advice and strengthening government support on managing health and disability in the workplace.

The UK Government will provide £1.3bn over the SR21 period for employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions. It will extend the Work and Health Programme, expand the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, and expand employment support in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services across England. The UK Government will also continue to take forward proposals in the Health and Disability Green Paper, Shaping Future Support, to ensure the welfare system better supports disabled people and people with health conditions to live independently, and will publish a White Paper with further details later this year. As set out in the 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, the UK Government is also committed to connecting disabled people to work by ensuring that they have equal access to transport wherever they are in the UK.

The National Disability Strategy aims to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The strategy takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people with focus on the issues that affect them most, including employment. Devolved administrations have also published strategies to support those with disabilities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.