Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

CIPFA Comment: Levelling up spending announcements

23-01-2023

In response to today’s levelling up spending announcements by the government, Jeffrey Matsu, CIPFA Chief Economist, said:

“Today’s announcements underscore the painful reality of the competitive bidding process. Larger councils with better resources are more likely able to submit high quality bids than those smaller, less resilient councils who most need the additional funding.

This way to fund levelling up is not transparent and impacts on policy delivery and accountability. The current system lacks a whole systems approach for understanding spending in areas with different profiles or priorities. What results is the shifting, rather than creation, of economic activity.

“The short-term nature of the funding and relatively small amounts available will not significantly contribute to successful levelling up. As our previous research shows, reducing regional inequalities requires place-led partnerships and leadership to progress joined-up solutions. The government needs to grasp the scale of the challenge and commit to a clear and coherent way forward.”