Published on 29 January 2024
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Levelling up: two years on

Government has published a statement on the 12 missions in the Levelling Up White Paper that includes the Bennett Institute’s recommendation to boost pride in place as a core commitment to levelling up.

It is two years since the government published the Levelling Up White Paper setting out a plan to end geographical disparity in the United Kingdom. As part of the subsequent Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, the government committed to laying a Statement of the Levelling Up Missions before parliament on an annual basis. The first of these statements was published on 25 January 2024 and sets out the metrics that the government will use to measure progress against the 12 Levelling Up missions.

Whilst there were existing measures and metrics in place for several missions, a more exploratory approach is required to better understand how some of these missions are being achieved.

In August 2022, the Bennett Institute for Public Policy published a report as part of their Townscapes series exploring issues around the Levelling Up mission (Mission 9) relating to pride in place. The aim of the mission was:

“By 2030, pride in place, such as people’s satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community, will have risen in every area of the UK, with the gap between top performing and other areas closing.”

Included in the Bennett Institute report was a recommendation that “Government should introduce new questions relating to the pride objective in its Community Life Survey and Taking Part Survey, and it should expand these to report data at sub-regional level. A principle of data collection at the lowest scale should be more adopted, even if such data is experimental or limited in scope.”

Researchers are pleased to see that the Government’s recently published statement on the Levelling Up missions states that future editions of the Community Life Survey will “include measures related to Pride in Place and will be delivered at a local authority level.”

Says Owen Garling, co-author of Townscapes: Pride in Place: “It is positive news that Government recognises the need to ensure that there is a suite of measures at the appropriate spatial scale to understand whether they have achieved their mission concerning Pride in Place. Our research shows the connections that people have with their towns and communities are closely connected to the challenges of improving the social and economic prospects of these places.

“In our report, we argue that if government is serious about boosting pride, it should increase the size of the Community Ownership Fund, commit to a Minimum Standard Guarantee of access to social and cultural amenities including green spaces, give communities a say over what happens in the neighbourhoods that they live, and create the role of Minister for Civic Pride to drive focus across Government and ensure that departments are boosting pride.”

Report: Townscapes: Pride in Place

Blogs: Levelling Up

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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