Centre for Policy Studies

The current agenda won’t help deliver high-productivity jobs

‘This is clearly a serious document, which grapples both with the extremely powerful forces which have concentrated growth and productivity in London and the South-East and the failure of the many previous attempts to redress the balance.’

‘The dozen missions set out by Michael Gove are all valuable and worthwhile, as is the focus on data and transparency. But there is a further mission, which sits above them all, which is to ensure that the private sector can create the high-productivity jobs on which levelling up will depend. The current agenda of temporary investment incentives and permanent tax rises will certainly not help deliver that.’


What is missing is slashing taxes to spur growth

‘Again, commitments to high-quality skills training will need to be met by support for the National Manufacturing Skills Taskforce and Advanced Manufacturing Hubs, to help generate sustainable jobs and prosperity across the regions.’

‘This recent history of ‘enshrining’ targets in law has not been particularly successful. There are plenty of noble aims but it’s important to ensure ‘levelling up’ does not become a phrase befuddled by a lack of a clear narrative.’

‘What is missing is the stuff government is less good at, slashing taxes to spur growth, rediscovering the old flames of family and parenting as a precursor to a stronger and fairer society later on.’

Institute of Economic Affairs

Nothing about encouraging private business by cutting taxes and regulation

“The intention to spread government R&D around the country could damage the success story of the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, which is currently an international attractor.’

‘The requirement to add ‘spatial analysis’ to all new policy proposals, in the same way as the impact on women, on minorities and on the environment has to be taken into account, will lengthen official documents but probably achieve little else.’

‘This programme could have been written by any political party. There is nothing here about encouraging private business by cutting taxes and regulation – which is the only way forward to promote growth and prosperity across the country as a whole.’


“A potential route to strong leadership”

‘The extent to which this will succeed as a long-term programme for national renewal will depend on the extent to which Whitehall can be rewired and connected so spatial considerations are front and centre of national policymaking.’

‘Success will also depend on the extent to which our centralised constitution and Westminster political system grants greater elasticity in allowing local leadership to flourish and deliver on those of the 12 levelling up missions where the local state can use its powers of convening, financing and procurement to bear with greatest impact.’

‘The offer to grant every part of England that wants one, a high level devolution deal by the end of the decade – and with a simplified and long-term funding settlement – offers potentially a route to strong local leadership everywhere and allows the ‘retro’ and partially-rural to rapidly catch up with the ‘metro’ cities.’

Policy Exchange

“Without further action this White Paper is just a framework”

‘As the White Paper makes clear, the woeful productivity performance outside London and the South East, almost without peer in the developed world, is a major obstacle to the high-growth, high-wage future the people of the United Kingdom deserve. The missions that form the heart of the White Paper’s purpose, aiming to reduce regional inequalities across a whole range of areas from living standards to digital connectivity will, I hope, galvanise the whole of Whitehall.’

‘There is much to be welcomed in the White Paper.  It provides a valuable framework for the future of economic policy in the UK, but without further action it is just a framework. It must be the beginning, rather than the end of this vital conversation.’