Devolution Bulletin - October 2022

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


LGA Logo with padding 2019

Devolution Bulletin

October 2022

Twitter IconLinkedIn IconFacebook IconYoutube icon

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

The new Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP has appointed a new ministerial team, with the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP returning as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Lucy Frazer MP and Felicity Buchan MP have been appointed to the department as ministers, joining Dehenna Davison MP, Lee Rowley MP and Baroness Scott of Bybrook who have been reappointed to their roles. 

This month has also seen a raft of new publications on levelling up. These look at levelling up in the North East, in the West Midlands, and the impact the cost of living crisis has had on the twelve missions set out in the Levelling Up White Paper. More on these, and other new publications below. 

October saw the first of LGA’s new webinar series on devolution. This webinar looked at making a success of governance, accountability and scrutiny, and the slides are available on the LGA’s website. If you missed it, don’t forget to put the next three in your diary now:  


Michael Gove MP returns as Levelling Up Secretary  

The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities by the new Prime Minister. Joining him at the department are Lucy Frazer MP as Minister of State and Felicity Buchan MP as Parliamentary Under Secretary, along with Dehenna Davison MP, Lee Rowley MP and Baroness Scott of Bybrook who have been reappointed to their roles of Parliamentary Under Secretary.   

Investment zones ‘under review’ says Levelling Up Secretary  

The Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has said that the investment zone policy announced under Liz Truss will be reviewed. He said that any change made would need to support economic growth and good jobs, but that plans would not go ahead if they risked weakening environmental protections.  


Is levelling up working for the North East?

Academics from Nothumbria University have published a research paper questioning whether the Government’s flagship Levelling Up policy is working for the North East. They argue that the North/South gap is widening, and that the region is in danger of slipping further behind as economic and social conditions continue to deteriorate. 

Levelling up growth prospectus from the West Midlands  

The West Midlands Combined Authority has launched a Levelling Up Growth Prospectus. This prospectus is a far-reaching blueprint setting out what is needed to level up the region. It aims to fire up the regional economy by driving forward a new, green industrial revolution while attracting major private sector investment. 

Mission Improbable: how the cost of living crisis will affect levelling up  

The 'Mission Improbable' report from the Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up at the University of West London analyses how the cost of living crisis may have threatened the 12 levelling up missions. It finds that eight out of the 12 missions are at high risk of not being achieved due to the rising cost of living 

Reimagining Whitehall  

Reform think tank has launched a research programme to look at how major change must occur in the behaviours, processes and structures of central government. Their launch essay sets out the biases that trouble our system of government and efforts to reform it. 

Making up ground – the role of green infrastructure in urban regeneration  

This report from Groundwork looks at the place of green infrastructure in urban regeneration policy and spending, from the early 1980s to the present day. It analysed recent funding for place-based regeneration, finding that less than five per cent of funds have been used to support green infrastructure regeneration projects 

In Parliament

Oral Questions

This month’s oral questions to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities included questions on the allocation of the Levelling Up Fund, the potential impact of the Government’s levelling up agenda on the supply of affordable housing, the mayoral devolution deal for the East Midlands, the potential impact of investment zones for local residents and local businesses and on the environment.  There was also a question to the Treasury on the fiscal steps being taken to fund the Government’s levelling up agenda in the north of England.  

Inquiry into funding for levelling up  

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has launched an inquiry into funding for levelling up. It will examine the allocation of resources, and the aim, size and focus of the different funds available. It will also explore how this funding approach contributes to the Government’s overall levelling up objectives. The Chair of the Committee, Clive Betts MP, has written to the National Audit Office in relation to this inquiry. 

Levelling Up Barry, Vale of Glamorgan   

Alun Cairns MP proposed this debate. He argued that Barry has been ignored by the Welsh Government despite it having five areas in the 10 per cent most deprived wards in Wales in 2011. He also highlighted the positive changes, such as the Barry Making Waves project, which includes a bid for £19.9 million of levelling up funds to release a £32 million project.   

In response, Dehenna Davison MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responded that successful levelling up fund bids should hear back by the end of the year, and underlined that £970,000 has been allocated to six projects across the Vale of Glamorgan already from other funds, such as the Community Renewal Fund. She also said that she continues to look at funding simplification, recognising that not all areas have the capacity and experience to complete lengthy and complicated bidding processes. 

Governing England report published  

The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has called on both Government and Opposition parties to set up a Parliament sponsored cross party commission to review England’s governance arrangements. They argue that the current structures are too centralised, not fit for purpose and in need of urgent reform.


Investment Zones: Will they work? 

This Centre for Cities online event on 10 November follows the announcement of Investment Zones in September’s fiscal event and the deadline for applications from interested places on 14 October. It will explore whether Investment Zones will encourage growth in the areas where they are located and the potential pitfalls and additional policy interventions that will be needed to be considered. 

Sharing ideas

Devolution webinar series

The LGA is running a series of webinars for areas exploring or negotiating a devolution deal with Government. The first webinar, on making a success of governance, accountability and scrutiny, took place on 17 October, and slides are available on the LGA’s website. 

November promises two devolution webinars – the first will be on successfully managing the creation of a combined authority (9 November, 10.30am).

The second will be on building engagement through good communication (29 November, 10.30am) 

The final webinar will take place next month, and cover making a successful evidence-led pitch to Government (16 December, 10.30am). 

All webinars will be free for all councils and combined authorities. Book now to secure your space.

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