In response to the government's levelling up white paper, CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman CBE said: "CIPFA is encouraged by the ambition of the government's levelling up white paper. The allocation of more funds and powers to local leaders is a positive change. Place-based funding allows for spending decisions to better reflect local circumstances and deliver real benefit to communities.
"It's vital that any decentralisation that takes place is not dictated by central government. As many of the 12 'missions' cross over into devolved policy matters, close consultation and collaboration with the devolved administrations will be crucial.
"However, a primary concern is that the funding method to pay for the targets outlined in the paper is unclear. Any amount of bidding for funding in the short-term is unsustainable, and often works to entrench inequality further. We welcome the commitment to simplify funding streams and move to a longer-term funding model.
"The plan to use £16bn from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) to invest in local levelling up initiatives should be dropped. The key workers who pay into the LGPS should not have their pensions used to pay for government priorities. It is important that proper funding is made available for levelling up schemes that doesn't risk pressures to the pension scheme that would fall on the council tax payer.
"As demonstrated in CIPFA's recent regional inequality research, how these 12 missions are measured and evaluated is critical in ensuring they are effective, targeted and deliver value for money. The success factors will somehow need to align with frameworks such as the Green Book to ensure consistency across government spending."
Notes to editor
- The measurement of policies designed to reduce inequality is vital in making sure they are effective
- Read our recent reports on metrics and measurement and why good public financial management is at the centre of successfully levelling up and reducing inequality
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CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA shows the way in public finance globally, standing up for sound public financial management and good governance around the world as the leading commentator on managing and accounting for public money.