Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MPPrime Minister
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak writes exclusively for Chamber UK on his vision for levelling up communities across the UK.
There have been many who have queried what levelling up actually means. How will it help local communities? Will it help my community? What say will my community have?
For me, the overarching aim of levelling up is simple. It is to ensure opportunity is spread equally across our United Kingdom. For some areas this will mean improving transport links, for others it will be about upgrading schools. We must restore pride back into the places we live, whether you’re in the North or the South, East or West, Scotland, Wales, England, or Northern Ireland.
When I was Chancellor, levelling up was a top priority, and it will help to form the foundations of the Government that I lead. I believe passionately that equal opportunity should be available to everyone, no matter where you live or what school you attend. And I know that working with and supporting local communities is the best way to guarantee that everyone has the opportunity to realise their potential.
This starts with putting power back into the hands of local communities. It is communities and their leaders that are best placed to know what their local area needs. We must empower them to provide exceptional public services and deliver beautiful new homes.
As Prime Minister, I will put local communities at the heart of my agenda. As a former Local Government Minister, I know the unique and important role that local governors play in serving their communities. Strong and effective local government has the power to support people across the country, and I want to build on the effective local community leaders that already exist.
I support devolution and I will continue to back the commitment in the Levelling Up White Paper to ensure that every part of England that wants a devolution deal gets one. As Prime Minister, my government will provide Mayoral Combined Authorities with greater Business Rates flexibilities and would transfer more powers away from Whitehall to local government. It is for communities to decide the levers they need to help their local area thrive.
Empowering local communities must also mean bringing the decision-making process closer to them. As Chancellor, I spearheaded the creation of the New Economic Campus in Darlington, getting UK policymakers out of Whitehall and closer to the communities and businesses they serve.
As Chancellor, I confirmed over £100 billion of investment in infrastructure across this Spending Review period to support levelling up. This funding is supporting real change in communities up and down the country. And as Prime Minister, I will continue to make sure that communities around the UK get the support they need to prosper.
However, I also believe that levelling up should not be confined to one part of the country or for one set of people. Deprived communities in need of funding exist in all regions, from Ipswich to Inverness, and from Camborne to Cardiff. I grew up in the South and now represent a constituency bordering Teesside, so I’ve seen first-hand that there are economic and social challenges faced by local communities across the country.
I have recently set out how I will support local high streets, which are the beating heart of so many communities. High Streets provide an avenue for people to come together, support one another and build a sense of community cohesion – as well as providing a multitude of economic benefits for the local community. Everyone feels a sense of pride about where they come from and want to do right by their communities. My government is focused on giving people the tools they need to achieve this.
If local communities are thriving, we as one United Kingdom will thrive too. For it is the people that drive growth, opportunity and prosperity in their local areas that enable this same success to be replicated across the country. I will always be on the side of local communities making the best decisions for themselves, and on the side of local leaders working to ensure that a surplus of opportunity is available to all.
Curia’s Levelling Up Commission and Chamber’s print journal
To find out more about Curia UK’s Levelling Up Commission visit: www.chamberuk.com/levelling-up-commission
To view this winter’s edition and subscribe for Chamber’s quarterly print journal visit: https://chamberuk.com/publications/