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Levelling Up - 2024 UK General Election Briefing
NIESR
2024.06.17
This briefing focuses on the Levelling Up process since the last election in December 2019, and includes policy recommendations to bring about sustained regional regeneration across the country.

Levelling Up is about reducing regional inequalities as reflected in differences in pay, productivity, living standards and well-being.
At the heart of the 12 Levelling Up missions set out in the 2022 White Paper is the important ambition to narrow the economic and social gap between the regions of the United Kingdom by 2030.
Given the scale of the task and the impact of shocks such as Covid-19, progress was always going to be slow, though regions such as the North West have experienced higher pay, a larger proportion of people in skilled employment and more public investment.
Notwithstanding the lack of available data, the combination of insufficient central government resources and the slow disbursement of relatively small pots of money has meant that there are few signs of Levelling Up.
Disparities in living standards and productivity have either remained unchanged or widened. The gap in living standards between the London and the South East and the North East has grown, and productivity differences between the London and the South East and the West Midlands have also increased.
Our projections of living standards and productivity suggest that unless some fundamental change occurs, there will be no substantial progress by 2030.
To reduce regional inequalities will require much higher levels of public investment of at least 4-5 per cent of GDP per year; the next government must speed up the disbursement of Levelling Up funds according to clear economic and social criteria.
There is also a need for institutional reform at the level of central government, combined with greater decentralisation of both decision-making powers and resources in policy areas such as skills, transport, infrastructure and housing.