We hear a lot about levelling up, but what does it really mean? This Local Government Association summary shows how local government wants to be front and centre of levelling up, and has some interesting suggestions about how best to turn the levelling up aspiration into reality.
As important as all these steps are, sometimes it is hard statistics which make you stop and take notice. This morning I heard that cultural investment across our northern cities varies wildly, with Manchester receiving about five times as much public investment as Sheffield (per person), and Leeds receiving over three times as much as Sheffield.
Sheffield is now on a mission to redress this imbalance, not least to help kickstart its recovery after the pandemic. But these hard facts about disparities in investment across the UK need to stay at the top of the agenda.
Councils fund and run a wide range of culture and leisure services, including libraries, museums, theatres, parks, sports pitches and leisure centres, which have significant value in preserving people’s mental and physical wellbeing, supporting educational outcomes, connecting communities and creating resilient liveable places. This important area of council work must not be forgotten in the Government’s levelling up ambitions - spending on culture and leisure is not a luxury: it is a commitment to the wellbeing of residents and the economic future of local places.