London businesses still not sure what ‘Levelling Up’ means, new survey shows
London businesses are still unclear on the details of what the UK government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda actually entails, according to new research from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
First set out in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2019, the Levelling Up policy aims to reduce disparities between regions and social groups inside Britain and Northern Ireland by investing in skills and infrastructure.
The LCCI’s survey of 510 London businesses found that while the majority (82 per cent) of those polled had heard of Levelling Up, only a minority (30 per cent) felt they understood it enough to explain it.
The survey also found that almost one-third (32 per cent) of those who were aware of the policy feared it will result a levelling down of the UK’s capital, as investment is redirected to other parts of the country.
Almost half (48 per cent) of those surveyed said they were unsure whether the policy strikes a good balance between investing in skills and investing in infrastructure.
The state of confusion comes after Boris Johnson’s government published a white paper, to explain the policy, in February, in which it set out plans to “spread opportunity more equally across the UK”.
The white paper sets out the government’s ambitions to boost productivity by increasing R&D investment outside the South East of England by at least 40 per cent, whilst also building out London-style public transport across the country and high-speed internet across the UK.
The plan also sets out aims to close health and educational gaps between Britain’s regions, cut crime, increase home ownership, and devolve powers over public investment decisions.
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: “Levelling up is an admirable socio-economic goal but it must not happen at the expense of London.”
“In speaking to London businesses, we have been struck by the linkages and economic connectivity between London and the rest of the UK.”
“A thriving London is good for the prosperity of the whole country. We need to get back to a collaborative mindset in charting the course of our economic future, not pitting regions against each other.”
“We also need to repair the relationship between Government and businesses with a wholesale reset. As the new Government beds in, we have that opportunity, and both sides need to seize it.”