Levelling up is perhaps most strongly associated with notions of devolution and has neatly been described as flipping “the presumption of power from Whitehall to the town hall”. But could levelling up under Labour go well beyond this?
Many have argued that levelling up should involve a wholesale reimagining of how resources are allocated and managed nationally, regionally, and locally. In a recent report by the Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up, levelling up is envisioned, variously, as; radically improving regional infrastructure and transport links, significantly investing in early years, creating fairer and greener jobs, broadening access to higher education, and an increased focus on community enfranchisement and the use of co-operative structures.
According to Gordon Brown’s Report of the Commission on the UK’s Future, levelling up should also be accompanied by a greater transparency in political processes at every level, particularly those which relate to major decisions on the allocation of resources.
So it is clear that levelling-up can (and perhaps must) consist of reform across several distinct but related policy areas at once. Whether its realisation takes form as the Take Back Control Bill, the establishing of a Department of Poverty, Smart Devolution, or indeed all of these things and more, levelling up is an aspiration that will require long-termism and investment.
Join our expert panel as they discuss this exciting topic, the various potential approaches to the levelling up agenda, and how Labour could ensure that it delivers real change, right across the country.
The Rt Hon Professor John Denham
John was an MP from 1992 and has held ministerial positions including; Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee (2003–2007), Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (2007–2009), and as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2009–2010).
In his post-parliamentary career, he became director of the English Labour Network and a Professorial Fellow on English Identity and Politics at Southampton University. In 2014 he founded the Southern Policy Centre. The SPC consists of a wide range of local and central government experts working together to champion the region and drive insightful and meaningful political engagement. Their work has explored themes including; regional economic strategy and devolution, poverty, disadvantage, and youth aspirations, and levelling up.
Emma currently sits as Assistant General Secretary of the Co-operative Party and is passionate about community enfranchisement and empowerment. She has also held several regional positions for the Labour Party and has significant experience of campaigning in the UK and abroad. Emma believes that community power and the co-operative economy are a crucial part of achieving true levelling up for our communities.
Emma has experience of working in a broad range of ‘civic duty’ and public service focussed roles. She was previously responsible for commissioning and advocating for victim services, including specialist sexual violence and domestic abuse support services. She has also been involved in the governance of non-profit social housing providers and other charities. She has served as a first-responder for the North East Ambulance Service, an ambassador for a domestic violence charity, and as a Magistrate.
Bren is a Solicitor with a wide-ranging private practice and also a long-term Labour Party member. He has worked on various projects including chairing an SLL working party looking at constitutional reform. He has also been involved in advising the Labour Party front bench on legislative amendments, and the legal aspects of broader policy areas such as human rights, judicial review, and devolution.
Bren has been closely involved in several important campaigns over the past 10 years and has run as a candidate in council elections. Bren is also Co-Chair of the Society of Labour Lawyer’s Constitution Group.
You can watch the webinar here: