Levelling up refers to a loosely connected set of policies designed to address the longstanding problem of the UK’s regional economic disparities.
On 2 February 2022, the Government published the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper. A Government press release summarised the paper, including its key objectives. A technical annex was also published, with further details of the metrics to monitor progress on levelling up.
The Government used the white paper to set 12 targets, or “missions” linked to policy objectives. The targets all have a 2030 end date, “setting the medium-term ambition” of the Government.
The 12 missions are under four objectives. There are also key targets and policies, designed to help meet these objectives. Some of these were announced in the white paper, while many are existing policies. The Government says that policies set out in the white paper “will begin to have visible effects” in the “next few years”.
The Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill had its First Reading in the House of Commons on 11 May 2022. The Bill completed Third Reading in the Commons on 13 December 2022 and moved to the Lords, where it has passed Second Reading and is currently at Committee stage. Further information is available in the Library briefing, Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill 2022/23: Progress of the Bill, published following the completion of the Bill’s Commons Committee stage.
Part 1 of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill would place a duty on the government to publish a “statement of levelling-up missions”. The mission statement must include target dates for meeting each of the missions and set out metrics for how progress will be measured. The government would be able to modify the mission statement and update the metrics and target dates.
The Bill would also require the government to report annually on progress towards achieving the missions (clause 5). The government would be able to discontinue pursuing a mission, by giving reasons in the annual report.
The government has said that the 12 missions would form the basis of the first statutory statement of levelling up missions after the Bill becomes law.