Boris Johnson’s “levelling-up” agenda needs its own NHS-style branding to convince the public, a report warns today.
Creating an identity for the Prime Minister’s flagship election promise which won support across Labour’s red wall strongholds is vital to maintaining backing, according to the study by the think tank Demos.
Its 31-page report, ‘Achieving levelling-up: the structures and processes needed’, says “levelling up will be difficult but possible, that achieving it will require strong local institutions, and that this in turn will require leadership from the centre”.
Demos’ eight recommendations include: “Create a brand that creates expectations and support amongst the public. (Think of those policies and institutions that won love from the public and became unassailable: Lloyd George’s Old Age Pension, Aneurin Bevan’s National Health Service).”
The report “concluded that the existing system for managing local economic policy from the centre is dysfunctional: in the absence of change, there is zero chance of reversing the long-term trend towards greater regional inequality that levelling up requires”.
Demos senior fellow and report co-author Charles Seaford said: “The intention to level-up was at the heart of the Government’s policy agenda when they won the general election in 2019, and we’ve been hearing even more about regional inequality since the regional responses to Covid-19 came into force recently.
“But the answer to the question of levelling-up is not a simple one.
“The answer is not simply more funding – it requires a shake-up to the current system, new structures to facilitate joint objective setting, more accountability, and changes to the way success is measured.
“Without a combination of these improvements, there is no clear path ahead for levelling-up.
“This has been a long-standing issue through successive governments, and we hope that central government will finally take leadership on this agenda, and make the true change which has been highly anticipated for too long.”