Devolution Bulletin - August 2022

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


LGA Logo with padding 2019

Devolution Bulletin

August 2022

Twitter IconLinkedIn IconFacebook IconYoutube icon

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

With Parliament in recess, and the Conservative leadership race ongoing, it could have been a quieter month for devolution, but the month has been bookended by two major devolution deal announcements. The first, at the start of August, was the announcement of a new Mayoral Combined Authority for York and North Yorkshire, worth £540 million over 30 years. The second announcement, on 30 August, was of a new Mayoral County Combined Authority for the East Midlands, which will be backed by a new £38 million per year investment fund.  

This month has also seen new publications looking specifically at the Government’s levelling up metrics, and in particular, pride in place. A new report from the Bennett Institute challenges assumptions around where pride in place may be lacking, while a Ipsos’ Levelling Up Index shows that feelings of pride in place are highest in the South East and East, and lowest in the North West and Wales.   

September promises a new Prime Minister, the return of parliament and the resumption of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. We’ll keep bringing you all the latest updates as well as news on any new devolution deals.


Government signs off on York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority  

Secretary of State Greg Clark MP has signed off a £540 million devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire. This means that the area will have a directly elected mayor, as well as powers and funding to improve transport, education, and job opportunities for the area. York will remain a non-constituent member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.  

New devolution deal for East Midlands announced  

The Levelling up Secretary, Greg Clark MP has announced a new deal for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham, with a directly elected mayor. The deal will involve new powers to improve transport, boost skills training and build more attractive and affordable homes through the new Mayoral County Combined Authority Model.  

West Midlands and Greater Manchester Mayors call for powers over adult skills  

Andy Burnham and Andy Street have made the case to Government that they should have powers over adult vocational skills as part of their ‘Trailblazer’ deals. They have highlighted the need to flexibly target training and skills provision to the needs of their areas, and in doing so attract greater investment.  

Government launches new Levelling Up Parks Fund  

The new Levelling Up Parks Fund aims to improve access to quality green space for urban residents. The fund, which is worth £9 million, will be given to councils to create or significantly revamp existing parks in 85 neighbourhoods most deprived of outdoor space. £2 million of the investment will support tree planting, helping to combat carbon emissions 

IPPR launch Progressive Levelling Up Project 

IPPR and IPPR North are undertaking a major project. This project will set out how to upgrade levelling up and rebalance power, wealth, and opportunity between and within regions, with the voice of people at its centre. It will run until spring 2023 and will draw on participatory work from across Hastings, Stoke-on-Trent, and Redcar, as well wider conversations with citizens, leaders and experts from across the UK. 


Townscapes: Pride in Place  

This report from the Bennett Institute for Public Policy calls on the next Prime Minister to rethink the Government’s strategy to boost civic pride. The report challenges the idea that in many ‘left-behind’ communities there is a diminishing sense of local pride, and suggests that the current understanding of pride in place and the role it can play in levelling up is too simplistic.  

What levelling up policies will drive economic change? 

The Institute for Government have produced this report arguing for the need for a long-term focus on skills and cities. It says that the Government has pursued the right types of levelling up policies, but at a scale which would only make a small dent in regional inequalities. Instead, it argues, the incoming Government should focus big economic investments on cities such as Birmingham and Manchester 

Ipsos Levelling Up Index  

Research conducted by Ipsos UK shows regional disparities in how the public feel about their local areas. This Levelling Up Index tracks the public’s perspective on the Government’s 12 Levelling Up missions. It found that residents in Wales, Northern Ireland and the North of England feel particularly left behind in terms of Government spending. It also found that the majority of public do not expect the Government to be successful in reducing regional inequalities.  

In Parliament

Levelling Up Committee sets out initial findings of inquiry into the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill  

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has written to Secretary of State for Levelling Up to set out the findings of their scrutiny of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. They expressed concerns that the Bill lacks clarity and funding commitments needed to transform local communities. They also commented that that it has been difficult to conduct scrutiny due to a lot of the detail of the provisions having not yet been published. 


Smith Square Debate: Is England set to level up?  

This hybrid event is the first of a new series of debates hosted by the LGA. As the country grapples with wide-ranging and systemic challenges ranging from the cost of living, a stretched NHS, and low productivity to ambitious net zero targets and changes in how we live and work post-pandemic, the LGA is bringing together key thinkers to discuss whether England has the right decision-makers, systems and funding in place to meet them. The debate will take place at 6pm on 18 October, and will be followed by networking.  

Levelling Up: Will it survive the new Government?  

This event will focus on the new Prime Minister and Cabinet’s view on levelling up. Speakers will include Adam Hawksbee, Deputy Director and Head of Levelling Up, UK Onward and Paul Swinney, Director of Policy and Research, Centre for Cities. The online event, the third in Centre for Cities’ series on levelling up, will be at midday on 20 September.  

RSA Forum conference: ‘Levelling Up’  

This half day conference offers the opportunity to hear a series of short talks on different aspects of levelling up. It will bring together leading local figures from business, academic, politics and charity. The conference will take place between 11am and 3pm on 23 September in Liverpool.  

Sharing ideas

Levelling Up Locally Inquiry 

The Levelling Up Locally Inquiry has now concluded its series of four roundtables. Write ups of each of the roundtables on funding and alignment, leadership, productivity and prosperity, and place and identity are now available. The inquiry’s steering group members will meet again in September to agree recommendations and next steps.  

LGA support offer  

The LGA continues to support areas negotiating devolution deals, and existing combined authorities. This support 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. We also have a range of resources on our devolution hub.

Please contact your regional principal adviser if you would like to discuss LGA support.