Devolution Bulletin - July 2022

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Devolution Bulletin

July 2022

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

Although we’ll have to wait until September for a new Prime Minister, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill continues to make its way through Parliament, and the second round of the Levelling Up Fund has opened for bids.  

The LGA continues to support areas negotiating devolution deals, and existing combined authorities. This includes two new guides from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny, looking at 10 questions to ask for a combined authority scrutinising economic development, and considerations for improving citizen participation in the scrutiny of combined authorities in England. Please contact your regional principal adviser if you would like to discuss LGA support.  

Since the last bulletin, we’ve also launched the LGA’s Future of Cities collection. This collection, which explores the question “What do we want our cities to be, and how do we get there?” features essays, videos, data and demographic analysis from city leaders and urban experts from around the world. We’re looking to grow this collection over the summer, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to contribute an essay or video. Some submissions from the collection will also be shown as part of an Urban Sensographies exhibition in Coventry – more on that below.


Greg Clark replaces Michael Gove as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 

The Prime Minister has appointed the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP to lead the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Mr Clark had previously held the role between 2015 and 2016, when the department was called the Department for Communities and Local Government and has also served as business secretary and universities minister.  

Second round of Levelling Up Fund opens for bids  

Applications have opened for the second round of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. This round, which is worth £4.8 billion, was due to open on 31 May and close on 6 July, but did not open until 15 July, and will close on 2 August. Unlike in the first round of applications, MPs are now able to support two bids.  

Independent review of civil service governance and accountability launches  

The Cabinet Office have appointed Lord Maude to lead a review into civil service efficiency and effectiveness. This review aims to strengthen how government works in delivering Ministerial priorities to improve outcomes for the public. It will consider the roles of and accountabilities of Ministers, senior officials and non-executive directors in decision-making and the governance and accountability structures and processes in the civil service. 


Stagnation nation   

This interim report of The Economy 2030 Inquiry  brings together the first phase of The Economy 2030 Inquiry’s research, and is focused on the state of the UK economy and the changes facing it. The Economy 2030 Inquiry has also produced a Bridging the gap” report looking at what it would take to narrow the UK’s productivity disparities.  

Levelling up and skills policy  

The Institute for Government have reviewed the evidence on what skills policies are likely to contribute to levelling up by increasing productivity in places outside of London and the South East, and compares this to the government’s current approach.   

The Regional Development Trap in Europe  

This article, which appeared in the latest edition of the journal of Economic Geography introduces the concept of the regional development trap for regions in Europe. This concept refers to regions that face significant structural challenges in retrieving past dynamism or improving prosperity for their residents, and they argue that regions facing development traps generate economic, social, and political risks 

Movers and Stayers: Localising power to level up towns 

Demos have produced this new report which calls on the Government to re-conceptualise their ‘stay local, go far’ ambition, to help those that stay through empowering communities, local government and businesses to take control of their town.     

Financing the future – what does levelling up mean for South East England?  

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the South East has published its report following its inquiry: Financing the future – what does levelling up mean for South East England? This report reveals concerns from local government and businesses groups in the South East that the levelling up agenda may pose a major risk to the region.  

In Parliament

Levelling Up Committee publishes data on funding and grants 

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has published data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities relating to a series of grants and funding pots connected with the levelling up agenda. This covers a range of funds including the Coastal Community Fund, Community Ownership Fund, Future High Streets Fund, Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund.  

Written Parliamentary Questions  

This month saw a series of questions from Rachael Maskell MP (York Central, Labour) on the new North Yorkshire devolution deal. These questions covered plans for engagement with communities, other stakeholders, and MPs, how the budget will be determined, and the timescale for its establishment.  

Oral Parliamentary Questions  

Although there were no oral questions to the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities this month, there were questions to the Secretary of State for Wales about the potential merits of the UKSPF for Wales, and questions to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the effectiveness of the Government’s levelling up agenda in increasing social mobility 


Levelling Up: Shared Challenges for UK Cities  

Centre For London are partnering with CLES and the Centre for the New Midlands to hosting an online panel discussion with city leaders from across the UK on 13 September. It will explore the challenges for each of their cities, how they are working with central government, and what they think we can do better to make levelling up a reality for the whole country.  

Urban Sensographies exhibition  

This exhibition, which emerges from a three year project called Sensing the City features contributions from the LGA’s Future of Cities collection. The exhibition is taking place upstairs in Metropolis, Earl St, Coventry, CV1 5RU, between 12pm-8pm every day until 30 July.  

Citizens Advice Cost of Living Briefing 

This online event, on 17 August at 10am, will bring together Citizens Advice and a panel of experts on the cost of living crisis. Citizens Advice will be sharing data insights on how the growing cost of living is affecting their clients.  

Sharing ideas

New combined authority scrutiny guides  

The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny have published two new guides for combined authorities. These guides, which have been produced for the LGA’s Combined Authority Governance Network, look at 10 questions to ask for a combined authority scrutinising economic development, and considerations for improving citizen participation in the scrutiny of combined authorities in England 

UK Shared Prosperity Fund   

 With UKSPF Investment Plans due to be submitted by the end of July, DLUHC have now published additional guidance to support lead authorities to deliver UKPSF programmes and projects. This includes a range of advice that the LGA has been calling for, including subsidy control and reporting and performance management. We understand that this is a lighter touch approach especially compared to the ESIF programme. However, if you do have any issues or concerns, please get in contact and continue to check our UKSPF hub for links to advice and support.    

Devolution APPG call for evidence  

The Devolution APPG’s open call for evidence for their inquiry into the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper has been extended to Friday 4 August 2022. This inquiry will look at how effectively the reforms in the white paper will futureproof the UK and take advantage of effective local governance and technological advancements to prepare the nation for the challenges we will face in 2030 and beyond. Please send your submissions with the subject line: ‘Devolution APPG – Inquiry Submission’, to