The St. Vincent de Paul Society states that the government’s long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper represents a missed opportunity to address the ingrained social and economic disparity across the UK.
The SVP believes that high streets and deprived areas can only thrive if the people living there have access to good quality jobs, fit for purpose education and affordable housing. So far, the majority of levelling up funding has been spent on physical infrastructure rather than social which is seen as a vital component in binding communities together. The SVP has first hand experience of the challenges facing those addressed by the Levelling Up agenda and so believes the insight it can offer as invaluable.
The SVP operates nine St Vincent’s community support centres across England and Wales, each providing a tailored response to the need in their community. Requests for support from their national office have increased since the start of the pandemic which indicates a worrying trend in the most deprived areas of the country, all of which are in urgent need of levelling up funding.
We welcome the government’s proposal that “by 2030, pay, employment and productivity will have risen in every area of the UK, with each containing a globally competitive city, with the gap between the top performing and other areas closing.”
However, the success of this agenda will be determined by the detail, and the White Paper fails to lay out a clear plan for reaching this ambitious goal. There is little mention of quality employment or secure employment. Without these embedded in the levelling up strategy, it will be hard to reach this goal. The white paper lacks crucial details of how funding will be allocated.