Levelling Up White Paper

02 February 2022

Long Awaited Proposals from the Government

The government has published its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper.  The document is a large document covering a whole number of topic areas. The paper is the work of the Levelling Up Taskforce led by Andrew Haldane.  Haldane was Chief Economist at the Bank of England and a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee until mid 2021.

The White Paper is focused on twelve medium-term missions.

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

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

Transport Infrastructure - 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.

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

Education - 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.

Skills - 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.

Health - 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 five years.

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

Pride in Place - 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 top performing and other areas closing.

Housing - 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.

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

Local Leadership - 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.

The full document consits of 

Chapter 1 The United Kindom’s Geographical Disparities: Drivers and Potential Policy Approaches.

A long chapter with a lot of discussion on Economic History and options. 

Chapter 2 Systems Reform

Covers how to make public policy more successful and in particular how to empower local decision making and devolution.

Chapter 3 The Policy Programme

A series of specific policy recommendations

Chapter 4 Next Steps

Including Engagement and Future Legislation

Finally there is

Delivering for all parts of the United Kingdom

A series of sections showing programmes underway in each region.

Future Legislation

The Government will bring forward legislation to put in statute some of the key pillars of levelling up to ensure this new framework is built on strong foundations. Including:

a. introducing an obligation for the UK Government to publish an annual report on delivery against the levelling up missions; and

b. strengthening devolution legislation in England in order to expand devolution to more places.  

Planning Reforms the wait continues

There are reforms to the planning system as outlined in the White Paper including:

  • Councils and communities will create new local design codes to shape streets as residents wish, widen the accessibility of neighbourhood planning, encouraging more accessible hybrid models for planning committees in England
  • Look to pilot greater empowerment of communities to shape regeneration and development plans.
  • The ability to have a meaningful say on individual planning applications will be retained and improved through new digital technologies.
  • The Government will also explore provisions around compulsory purchase powers and support for reusing brownfield land.  

More details on these planning reforms will be published in due course.

Read the Documents

See below for links to Executive Summary and full White Paper.  The Full White Paper (300plus pages) does have an active index, click on chapter headings to jump to the section of interest.


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