It is teamwork that makes the dream work

By Joanne Pitt | 20 October 2021

The Government’s levelling up agenda is slowly starting to materialise. The big picture of what it means is starting to come into focus after Michael Gove’s speech at the Conservative Party conference.

Arriving on stage to ABBA’s Dancing Queen, we were thankfully spared an encore of his recent dancing in an Aberdeen nightclub. What we did get was a set of four definitions of what levelling up means to the man responsible for implementing this policy: stronger local leadership; higher living standards; improved public services; and an enhanced sense of pride in the places where people live.

Giving local authorities more power and autonomy is a good thing, and something the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy has long called for. But, for change to bring meaningful benefits to the local community, councils must also be given the resources and flexibilities for success.

Sustainable funding is key. A move away from the current time-consuming and costly bidding processes is urgently required. This also means revisiting business rates reform and the fair funding review.

Councils need to be able to plan for the future and that requires certainty about how much funding they are due to receive. The high-profile row between the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Government over lockdown funding conditions for his city, publicly exposed the frustration that local leaders can (and do) feel with the inconsistent and seemingly unfair funding methods available to them.

All areas of Government have a responsibility to work together to deliver on the levelling up strategy if it is to bring about real benefit to communities.

The Government would be wise to do all it can to de-escalate tensions with councils over funding before they turn into an all-out rave.

Joanne Pitt is the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s local government policy manager


comments powered by Disqus
Business rates CIPFA Funding Fair Funding Review Levelling up

Coronavirus Update


In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, some of you may not be able to receive your copy of TheMJ magazine. If you’d like to change your delivery address, please contact our subscriptions department at
Read The MJ for free

Keep up to date by subscribing to our daily newsletter

theMJ products