Following the Government’s publication of its White Paper on levelling up, Harriet Clugston, data and investigations editor for NationalWorld, has been taking a closer look at the ambitious targets it sets out and how it is planned for these to be achieved, particularly when no new money is being allocated to do so.
On Uncovered, Harriet speaks to host Kelly Crichton about the intentions of closing the gap in healthy life expectancy, improving people’s “pride of place” in the communities around them, lifting up housing standards in the private rented sector, and reducing adult illiteracy.
This plan however contains no reference to new money to achieve all of this. It also doesn’t mention council finances.
Also on this episode Harriet talks to Jonathan Webb, who is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research North, about this funding issue and the impact it is having on local communities.
“We show in our research for example, that if you look at something like the levelling up fund, if you were to break that down per person in the north, spending works out at about £32 per person," he says.
“In comparison, if we look at changes to annual council service spending, the money local government can spend on services, that’s decreased from 2010 to 2020 by about £413 per person. So there’s a massive gap there, and the reason that’s important is because we can’t expect any of this agenda to be realised if we don’t give the resources they need to do it."
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Uncovered goes behind the headlines to give you an in-depth look at the stories that matter. On each episode Kelly Crichton is joined by the NationalWorld reporters who are working to bring information to light and hold those in power accountable.
Uncovered reveals the journalistic work that goes into the team’s investigations, and highlights important stories we think you need to know about but have gone uncovered in the wider media.
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