Devolution Bulletin - May 2022

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.


LGA Logo with padding 2019

Devolution Bulletin

May 2022

Twitter IconLinkedIn IconFacebook IconYoutube icon

Welcome to the May 2022 edition of the LGA’s Devolution Improvement and Support Bulletin.  

This month saw a major step forward with the announcement and publication of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. This Bill aims to put the proposals set out in the Levelling Up White Paper into law. The LGA responded to the announcement of the Bill by welcoming the steps taken towards greater devolution, while emphasising that true levelling up will only happen when councils have the powers and funding they need to address regional inequality, tackle concentrations of deprivation and make towns and communities across England attractive places to live, work and visit.

The second reading of the Bill is expected on 8 June, and we’ll keep you updated as the Bill progresses through Parliament. 

Unsurprisingly, levelling up and devolution were popular topics this month in Parliament, with mentions in the debate following the Queen’s Speech, a range of oral and written questions, and an appearance from Neil O’Brien MP at the Public Services Committee. 

The LGA continues to offer support to both existing combined authorities and those areas negotiating a devolution deal. Please get in touch with us if you want to discuss how we can help you, or take a look at the resources on our Devolution Hub, Levelling Up Hub and UK Shared Prosperity Fund Hub.    


Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill  

Following an announcement in the Queen’s Speech, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was presented to Parliament on 11 May. The Bill aims to drive local growth, empower local leaders to regenerate their areas, and ensure everyone can share in the UK’s success.It will place a duty on the Government to set Levelling Up missions, and produce an annual report updating the country on the delivery of these missions. The LGA responded by welcoming the steps taken towards greater devolution, while emphasising that true levelling up will only happen when councils have the powers and funding they need.   

How Is Your City Tackling the Climate Crisis? 

In this TED talk, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol argues that unlocking the potential of cities can also minimise the impact on the environment. He highlights the crucial role of city mayors in advocating for a "worldwide network of efficient decarbonized cities" that will bring the world closer to achieving its climate goals.  

New Mayor Elected for South Yorkshire   

Oliver Coppard has been elected as the new mayor of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, which covers Barnsley, Doncaster Rotherham and Sheffield. The new Mayor has said that his priority is improving bus services locally. He succeeds Dan Jarvis, who announced in September 2021 that he would not be seeking a second term as Mayor.   

Levelling up push sees more than 5,000 public buildings plugged into high-speed broadband  

The Government have announced that 1,200 schools, 340 libraries and 50 hospitals have been among over 5,000 public buildings connected to ‘gigabit’ speed broadband. These upgrades have been funded by a £164 million Government investment which aims to drive up productivity.  


Work Local: Unlocking talent to level up  

The LGA’s new employment and skills devolution proposals recommends ways Whitehall can improve its approach to employment and skills policy and deliver a coherent devolution approach. Analysis reveals devolution could each year result in a 15 per cent increase in the number of people improving their skills or finding work in a local area.   

Partnerships in Place - The Business of Levelling Up 

The LGA have supported Business in the Community’s (BITC) Place Taskforce to launch a new report looking into the role of business and cross-sector partnerships in place-based regeneration. The report provides practical recommendations to business, local government and national government on the role of business in delivering the ‘how’ of the Levelling Up White Paper, as well as the foundations that are needed to truly transform communities. 

Growing clean: Identifying and investing in sustainable growth opportunities across the UK  

This report, produced for The Economy 2030 Inquiry looks at the UK’s journey to net zero. It argues that large scale reduction in emissions will require major economy-wide changes, but that the transition to a cleaner economy could reduce regional inequalities 

If it makes you happy… What role does subjective wellbeing play in Levelling Up?  

In this briefing paper, the Social Market Foundation considers how subjective wellbeing fits in with the rest of the levelling up strategy. It focuses on places that are prosperous, healthy and well educated, but still have low wellbeing. It recommends that Government should investigate the drivers of difference in subjective wellbeing between different areas, and develop a more targeted plan for closing disparities.  

In Parliament

Queen’s Speech   

Following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech of a Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, levelling up was raised in the Debate on the Address. MPs flagged the importance of levelling up both between regions and within regions, and how levelling up could be achieved through improving connectivity, increasing private investment or improving public services. MPs also discussed the implications of the rising cost in living on levelling up. 

Public Services Committee  

Neil O’Brien MP, Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution, and Will Garton, Director General of Levelling Up appeared before the Public Services Committee on 25 May. They discussed the role of public services, reducing geographical disparities, the Levelling Up Fund, how to measure wellbeing and pride-in-place, and competitive bidding.   

Levelling Up funds and grants - Committee writes to Minister  

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, has written to Neil O’Brien regarding the grants and funding pots connected with the levelling up agenda. The letters ask about the allocation of these resources and the aim, size and focus of the funds available.   

Written Parliamentary Questions   

Oral Parliamentary Questions   

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities questions this month focussed on high street regeneration, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, local government funding, and how local leaders are being empowered to level up their communities. There were also oral questions in the House of Commons on what steps the Treasury is taking to encourage levelling up across the UK, and in the House of Lords on the metrics that will be used to inform the Government’s annual Levelling Up report.   


Local Government Association Annual Conference  

The biggest conference in the UK local government calendar will be taking place in Harrogate on 28-30 June 2022. There will be opportunities for delegates to participate in wide-ranging programme focusing on the issues that matter most to our local communities. With a vibrant mix of large plenary sessions, parallel plenary sessions, workshops and fringe events, this is a must-attend event for senior representatives working in local and central government as well as senior staff from charities and businesses. Book your place today  

Levelling Up in the East of England Roundtable  

The East of England LGA is running a roundtable discussion on 21 June, open to all members and colleagues of councils in the East of England and their partner organisations. It will consider how the Government’s levelling up agenda is currently affecting the East of England, the local government sector, and will consider how best to advocate for greater support where it is needed. This roundtable is aimed at councillors and council leaders, senior council officers, business representatives and members of the VCS in the East of England Region.   

Centre for London – in conversation with Andy Haldane   

This event on 29 June will present Centre for London’s levelling up research findings, followed by a conversation with RSA Chief Executive Andy Haldane, looking at London’s levelling up needs. This will include discussing London’s high housing costs, transport, public services and local authority spending.  

Sharing ideas

Learning from the Community Renewal Fund  

This webinar will focus on some of the lessons learnt from the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) and help lead authorities who will be looking to build partnerships and deliver programmes funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and other growth funding programmes.   

Share your ideas   

Is your council leading the way on explaining devolution to residents? Or maybe you’re using your combined authority’s powers in new and innovative ways? If you’ve got best practice to share, please get in touch and you could see your council feature in the next edition of this devolution bulletin!