In the midst of a crisis, it’s easy to lose sight of long-term policy priorities.
The current cost of living crisis is hitting people hard and exacerbating the existing inequalities that characterize our society. A Level Up agenda was touted by the Johnson administration as a long-term solution to these problems.challenge and change“The unfairness of regional disparities.
Since then, our attention has been captured first by the political crisis and now by the more pressing economic crisis, at the expense of thinking about long-term policy solutions to these challenges.Just this week, The Times report Some parliamentarians in peripheral seats have been discouraged from using the term “level up”, leaving open the possibility of interpreting this as a sign that the government is quietly distancing itself from its previous promises. increase.
This is a serious mistake. Governments must continue to prioritize the challenge of upgrading, alongside the cost of living crisis, to ensure that people have better lives and resilience in the future. The government also needs to strengthen support for living expenses. This ensures that ongoing level-up projects are not hampered by lack of money in people’s pockets.
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Leveling up has received significant political attention since the government released a long-awaited white paper on the topic last year. In the demo, I thought it was important to have a progress check. We wanted to understand how the leveling up was going and what lessons we could learn for the future. decided to visit the Tees Valley, where he took his flagship policy to the next level.
If leveling up works anywhere, all the evidence suggests it’s in Tees Valley. The Northeast has the highest unemployment rate anywhere in the country and the toughest child poverty and health statistics.
Leveling up in Tees Valley is a work in progress, but people are worried about the impact of the cost of living crisis.
Based on focus groups with members of the public living there, what we discovered was that people had faith in the local level-up agenda. Creating jobs was something people supported. One person said he thought leveling up would “stop”.
Lack of job opportunities was a common concern. Some people had family members or friends who were having trouble finding work. Some felt that the Level Up agenda had not yet delivered new jobs on the scale promised. and the viability of the local economy. With less money in locals’ pockets, participants wondered if restaurants, bars and cafes that opened as part of a local town center regeneration project could survive.
Our research also found that people were more generally concerned about the future of the Level Up Agenda. They questioned whether the national economic crisis meant the government would reduce the amount of money allocated to areas like Tees Valley to level projects. I asked Are you on hold? ”
This is not just a short-term problem for families and businesses, it is a long-term problem for community resilience. A continuous cycle in which regions like the Tees Valley benefit from investment and only suffer when economic crises strike is in no one’s interest. It is vital that governments now adequately address the cost of living crisis and ensure the future prosperity of places across the country.
Success in leveling up the agenda hinges on effectively addressing the cost of living crisis.
Our research shows that the long-term success of a leveling-up agenda will depend on how effectively people are supported through the short-term cost-of-living crisis. . Policy upgrades must be tied to cost of living policy in a nationally meaningful way for the government to deliver on its promises. We encourage you to make your current cost of living support more accessible, important, and long-term. This could mean not only expanding the eligibility of households to claim cost-of-living payments after April 2023, but also bringing forward the extension of cost-of-living measures.
It should also mean assessing the impact of cost of living assistance on local government funding in the long term and accelerating the leveling up of initiatives rather than putting them on hold.
Leveling up is a long-term challenge designed to address long-term problems. But the cost of living crisis is exacerbating poverty and inequality that already existed in many parts of the country. These issues severely impact people’s quality of life, their ability to pay their bills, or their ability to find a job, as well as hinder the success of the Level Up Agenda. To effectively level up our nations and address local inequalities, governments must act now and protect people from the cost of living crisis.
Courtney Stephenson is a Demos researcher.she is the author of the recent demo report About leveling up and Tees Valley.
https://www.politics.co.uk/comment/2023/01/19/levelling-up-policy-must-be-connected-to-cost-of-living-policy/ Policy upgrades must be related to cost of living policies