Levelling up won’t work this way

The government’s recent levelling up spending announcements underscore the painful reality of the competitive bidding process, says CIPFA’s chief economist Jeffrey Matsu.

He said that lar ger councils with better resources are more likely to be able to submit higher quality bids than those smaller, less resilient councils who most need the additional funding.

Matsu explained: “This way to fund levelling up is not transparent and impacts on policy delivery and accountability. The current system lacks a whole systems approach for understanding spending in areas with different profiles or priorities. What results is the shifting, rather than creation, of economic activity.

“The short-term nature of the funding and relatively small amounts available will not significantly contribute to successful levelling up. As our previous research shows, reducing regional inequalities requires place-led partnerships and leadership to progress joined-up solutions. The government needs to grasp the scale of the challenge and commit to a clear and coherent way forward.”