Levelling Up Fund Round 2: statement from the Institute of Economic Development
Over 100 projects have been awarded a share of £2.1 billion from Round 2 of government’s Levelling Up Fund to create jobs and boost the economy. In response, Institute of Economic Development (IED) Chair Tom Stannard said:
“This announcement has provoked discussion about those regions receiving the funding, with ‘North v South’ headlines around the South East getting more regeneration money than the North East, Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
In general, we welcome the commitment to funding following on from Round 1 and in anticipation of Round 3. Inevitably there are winners and losers, but what we want to see is longer term certainty, revenue investment and devolution alongside capital and also reducing micro-competitions with long wait times attached.
Overall, the Levelling Up Fund is worth £4.8 billion across the UK over four years. Of this £1.7 billion was distributed to 105 projects through the first round in autumn 2021. The Round 2 announcement means there is £1 billion left in the fund. The IED is calling for a dialogue with government about how best to prioritise that remaining investment, and is ready to meet with DHLUC officials to discuss that further on behalf of the UK economic development profession.
And, of course, the IED is here to assist economic development professionals in the delivery of Levelling Up Fund projects, and indeed those which have missed out in this round.
We should, however, not ignore the cut in annual government funding to councils from £41 billion to £26 billion in 2010. Local authorities, after more than a decade of suffering year-on-year real declines in funding, are now forced into a heavily work intensive process to enter a lottery through which the winners may receive a fraction of what they have lost. Bids inevitably involve bought in consulting support to design and cost the proposed approaches.
Announcements are made after an interminable period during which time resource is stood down, and now inflation has created a gap between the amount of funding requested and the awards provided. There is not much political capital in announcing steady annual revenues to local government, but surely our communities deserve a steady and considered approach to the allocation of resources in all of their areas.”
Contact: Phil Smith, Institute of Economic Development PR consultant, 01778 218180 / 07866 436159 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. Established 40 years ago, the IED's key objective is to represent the interests of economic development practitioners and ensure their views are widely expressed and noted. The IED is committed to demonstrating the value of economic development work for local and regional communities; the pursuit of best practice in economic development and the attainment of the highest standards of professional conduct and competence.