Working to make government more effective

South Shields high street

Regional economic policy

We assess the government’s approach to 'levelling up', whether it is well-defined and whether it can succeed where other governments have failed.

Most governments in the UK in the past 30 years have looked to reduce regional economic inequality, which is high in the UK compared with other comparable countries. The Conservative levelling up agenda was a high-profile example, but this followed previous efforts including the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and Michael Heseltine’s agenda in the early 1990s. However, governments have persistently struggled to make headway, running into familiar problems, including difficulties working across departments and with local government.

In this programme of work, we assess how the government is approaching reducing regional inequalities, and how it can learn from past failures. We provide recommendations for how the government can do this successfully. This has included a large body of work on the levelling up agenda.

We will also assess this Labour government’s approach to reducing regional inequalities as it takes shape.