Next week the APPG for the South East will welcome MPs, South East Council members and other key stakeholders to share views on their inquiry, “Financing the future – what does Levelling-up mean for South East England?”
A large number of written responses have been received from business, council and other stakeholders – read these in full here. Ahead of the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper, a number of key themes are emerging.
Levelling Up shouldn’t be about North vs South
Respondents feel frustrated by the view that levelling up is reduced to a north vs south debate rather than acknowledging the pockets of deprivation within regions. Many feel that the assumption that the South East is a wholly affluent area stops deprived areas within the region receiving investment and attention. Targeting the pockets of deprivation within the South East would benefit, not only these areas but the rest of the region and the country.
A long-term localised approach to funding is needed
A common view from written submissions was that local authorities are best placed to distribute funding and co-ordinate action. Many said that funding should be long-term to allow local authorities to best tackle inequality within their regions.
There should be a renewed focus on skills provision
Responses stated that skills and training opportunities must be improved if the region is to level up successfully. Beyond investment in infrastructure, prioritising skills provision will prevent the ‘cycle of deprivation’, improve life changes and avoid future generations living in poverty.