Levelling Up, Local Growth and Productivity in England
Ahead of the publication of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ white paper, this paper reviews the current role of institutions and governance structures across English regions in tackling spatial inequality and low productivity. It considers the recent history and roles of local and regional institutions and the overarching policy frameworks that oversee them as a key element of tackling spatial inequality and low productivity.
Specifically, the paper looks at the frequent changes to institutional arrangements supporting economic development and the process of allocating competitive funds to local and regional bodies. Two case studies concentrate on the changes of skills policy over the last three decades and the introduction and development of Local Enterprise Partnerships between 2010 and the present day. Although this directly relates to a promise made by the Conservative Party during the 2019 General Election, the issues of regional and local inequality, low productivity and devolution have salience for all political parties in England.