Devolution Bulletin - February 2022

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Devolution Bulletin

February 2023

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

Levelling up continues to be in the news following the allocation of round two of the Levelling Up Fund. While successful places will be able to forge ahead with their ambitious plans, the LGA made the case for a move to evidence-led, not competitive funding and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority raised his concern. In Parliament Dehenna Davison MP has been asked for an update on commitments that she made to report back to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee and Baroness Scott of Bybrook responded to questions in the House of Commons on spending decisions for capital projects. 

February has also seen several new publications on levelling up and themes associated with it. The Institute for Public Policy Research have recently published their report on How the North and the UK Measure Up and a new report written by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) explores how green projects are boosting UK growth. The LGA Coastal SIG reveals through its recent research that there is a risk the government’s existing Levelling Up agenda if it fails to identify the massive challenges faced by coastal communities. Levelling Up Locally is the final report by Onward and the Arts Council England in conjunction with Key Cities has published a new report exploring cultural engagement Culture and Place in Britain.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has broken new ground as the first combined authority to undertake a Corporate Peer Challenge with the LGA. Eamonn Boylan, GMCA chief executive said “The good outcome is a testament to the hard work of staff across the organisation and the work of our partners and stakeholders to help us in achieving our ambition to make Greater Manchester a great place to grow up, get on and get old. If you are interested in undertaking a peer challenge for your own authority, please contact your regional principal adviser.


West Midlands Mayor says levelling up policy should trust local people more 

Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority believes it shouldn’t only be up to civil servants in London to make project funding decisions Street said he strongly believed Levelling up should be founded on tackling underlying issues such as “competitiveness, productivity and the new economy” to spur growth across the country. 

Centre for Coastal Communities  

Tendring District Council’s successful bid for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund will see the establishment of a New Centre for Coastal Communities in Clacton as part of the £20 million town centre improvement project being backed by the University of Essex.  

GMCA receives positive feedback from the LGA’s Corporate Peer Challenge  

GMCA put itself forward as the first Combined Authority to go through the LGA’s Corporate Peer Challenge. This allowed them to get an external view on what they were doing well and what they needed to improve on to help them meet their organisational objectives and make a difference to the lives of the 2.8 million people in Greater Manchester. A copy of the final report can be found here. 

Chancellor examines new fiscal powers for mayors in England 

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is looking to tackle the ‘begging bowl’ relationship between England’s regions and the Treasury by giving local mayors more powers over their own finances. Government officials say the Chancellor and Levelling Up secretary are working to find ways to empower mayors through a form of fiscal devolution, starting with West Midlands and Greater Manchester. 

DLUHC hires former senior No.10 official as levelling-up director 

David Cameron’s former deputy principal private secretary Ed Whiting has been hired as a levelling-up director by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 


Looking Out to Level Up – State of the North 2023

The Institute for Public Policy Research has recently published its report on How the North and the UK Measure Up.  This report stresses the importance of addressing regional inequalities to drive northern and national prosperity, looking internationally for inspiration on how best to level up.

Green projects are boosting UK growth

The BBC has reported that a new publication written by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has identified that the transition to a greener economy is worth £71 billion and has brought jobs and investment to parts of the UK experiencing industrial decline. A full copy of the report titled ‘Mapping The Net Zero Economy’ can be found here.

Reviving Britain’s coast

Research published by LGA Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG) reveals there is a risk the government’s existing Levelling Up agenda if it fails to identify the challenges faced by coastal communities.  Household income in coastal areas is almost £3,000 per year lower than in non-coastal communities, with nearly one in five jobs below the living wage – a greater proportion than for England overall.

Levelling up locally- A guide for local leaders to level up their communities

Onward’s Levelling Up in Practice programme brings together research from places across the country to understand common challenges and identify practical, low-cost interventions that can kickstart progress. Levelling Up Locally is the final report, based on five research visits.

City leaders urge funding for “creative microclusters”

Key Cities has published a new report calling for a more inclusive approach to stimulating the economy and highlighting a link between low cultural engagement and deprivation. Culture and Place in Britain, produced in partnership with Arts Council England, cross references new data on cultural engagement within these cities with their scores in the ONS Index of Multiple Deprivation. The findings show a clear correlation between cities with a limited cultural offer and higher socio-economic deprivation.

In Parliament

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee

6 February 2023

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has written to Dehenna Davison MP asking for an update on commitments made at the Committee on 23 January to provide more detail about the logistics of the Government’s levelling up policy.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill Committee Stage, House of Lords, February 2023

The LGA’s recent responses to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill can be found here, covering local government’s views on amendments relating to levelling up, housing and planning, remote meetings and data.

Capital Projects: Spending Decisions

House of Common
20 February 2023

Baroness Scott of Bybrook gave the following answer to an Urgent Question asked in the House of Commons.
"There is no additional funding [to address inflation], but we are working with local authorities to ensure that local priorities can still be delivered. Where requests for rescoping are submitted, we are looking to deal with those flexibly, provided that the changes are still likely to represent good value for money. We are also providing £6.5 million of support for local authorities. We will be evaluating, and those evaluations will be made public."


Levelling Up Locally Inquiry launch

14 March 2023 3.30 to 6.00pm

Over the past year the LGA has run the Levelling Up Locally Inquiry into how the Government’s levelling up agenda might better strengthen local communities.
Register your interest for this hybrid event to hear the key findings and recommendations of the inquiry as well as network with attendees.

Second Urban Summit

Book your place today for the second Urban Summit, hosted by the LGA’s City Regions Board on 22 March at 18 Smith Square in London. This free, in person event will hear from speakers including Andy Haldane, chief executive of the RSA, and will discuss three questions: What are cities? What do we need our cities to be? What is the difference and how do we get them there? 

Sharing ideas


Following on from the success of last year’s programme the LGA are looking to run another series of devolution webinars for 2023/24 that look at a range of devolution topics. We are looking to support this programme through the development of a task and finish group to help us coproduce the webinars and make sure they are relevant to yourselves as officers within authorities that are devolved or considered going down the devolution pathway.

We are currently seeking interest from people who would like to be part of this task and finish group and support the webinar programme for 2023/24. If you are interested or know of a colleague who would be able to support the task and finish group can you please let us know by emailing

Alternatively, if you don’t feel that you are able to support the programme through joining the task and finish group but have an idea of what you would like to see/hear in future webinars we would be interested in having a conversation with you if you are able to get in touch.  

Corporate Peer Challenge

Following on from Greater Manchester Combined Authorities Peer Challenge if you are interested in your Combined Authority undertaking a peer challenge for your own authority, please contact your regional principal adviser.

Contact the LGA

If you have any thoughts or ideas that you want to share with Jenni, the LGA’s Policy Lead on Devolution Support, regarding this Bulletin or the types of support that the LGA offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email

The LGA are always looking for opportunities for authorities who are already devolved, have a deal in place or are starting on that devolution journey to show case their work – especially where this activity will help inform others who may be experiencing similar issues.

Please pass this bulletin on to any individuals or teams who you may think would benefit from it and if you are not already on our mailing list but would like to join, please go to and register your interest.

 For wider LGA support, please contact your regional principal adviser.