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Levelling Up White Paper: statement from the Institute of Economic Development


The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has today published its Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper. In response, Institute of Economic Development (IED) Executive Director Nigel Wilcock said: 

“The publication of the Levelling Up White Paper may have created headlines but arguably there is not enough in there to understand how systemic change will be achieved in practice. However, the ambition of setting The 12 Missions to Level Up the UK, cutting across the work of seven other government departments is far-reaching – and could be seen as an agenda to impact on the lives of those missed by the economic policies of the past. Let’s hope this is a genuine attempt to achieve just that, and there is little to disagree with in terms of such a goal.

There is a need for significantly more detail on how the Missions will be achieved and whether this is a genuine cross-government initiative or a political land grab by DLUHC. More devolution and a consistent approach to economic delivery structures is welcome, and we hope that the detail is more policy than politics and more process than yet more prosecco. At this stage we also stress the importance of economic development becoming a statutory function within local government which can then make sure that the delivery of levelling up initiatives takes place against the backdrop of greater certainty with a focus on the long-term.

We welcome the news that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will continue to provide a key plank in the economic development landscape. The IED had called for continuity in the mechanisms that were in place to deliver the policy agenda. The news that LEPs are here to stay ensures that the difficult groundwork always involved in creating trusted local partnerships will not be wasted – and most importantly ensures that the government is able to hit the ground running in terms of delivering the new priorities established by the Levelling Up White Paper.

The IED will be considering the detail of the White Paper in due course, including through our own online event on 28th February involving our Parton, The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, and panellists providing a range of insights. We will also be revisiting the thinking in our paper, Levelling Up: pre-White Paper perspectives from economic development professionals.”


Contact: Phil Smith, Institute of Economic Development PR consultant, on 01778 218180 / 07866 436159 /


The Institute of Economic Development (IED) is the UK’s leading independent professional body representing economic development and regeneration practitioners. Established nearly 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.