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There has been no shortage of central government attempts to support regional development over past decades, but these have been insufficient to close the widening gaps in geographical disparities, with efforts lacking scale, coordination, data and effective oversight, and policies ultimately proving short lived. So what can be done to fix the problem?
The Levelling Up White Paper proposed several reforms to 'rewire Whitehall' to ensure the goverenment delivered more effective regional policy, including the creation of a Levelling Up Advisory Council (LUAC) – an expert group reporting to the levelling up secretary of state – to provide insight, challenge, and advice to the government on its design and delivery of the levelling up policy agenda. This event also considered how central government can best be organised to deliver effective long-term regional policy, whether the white paper’s reforms are the right ones, what difference structures like the Advisory Council make, and what else is needed.
So what progress has the government made on implementing the white paper proposals? What difference have the structures set out in the white paper made already and is the LUAC fulfilling the purpose it was set up for? What are the key challenges for a government when trying to deliver cross-cutting policy? And are the structures in place for cross-government working, between central and devolved governments, adequate to deliver regional policy effectively?
To discuss these questions and more, the Institute for Government brought together an expert panel.
- Andy Haldane, Chair of the Levelling Up Advisory Council and Chief Executive of the RSA
- Rebecca McKee, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Government
- Jill Rutter, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government
- Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering and member of the Levelling Up Advisory Council
The event was chaired by Emma Norris, Deputy Director at the Institute for Government.