Looking forward to an interesting debate on who will ultimately be responsible for delivering on the government's #LevellingUp Agenda #LevellingUpDilemma
First speaker @jillongovt gives an overview on the decisions the government needs to make on how #LevellingUp will be delivered #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter looks back to her time at #DEFRA. Says the talks on #LevellingUp "has some of the hallmarks of #SustainableDevelopment conversations in early 2000s" - with all Departments paying lip service to Sustainable Development, but no real deliverables #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter warns that #LevellingUp risks going the same way. Says that the "acid test" for the Government will be for it to identify what makes this government (which says it is committed to levelling up) versus a Govt that is *not* committed to Levelling Up #LevellingUpDilemma
For example, Rutter says civil servants need to ask what is #LevellingUp ultimately focused on - is it about productivity? Educational attainment? Infrastructure? Public services? Quality of Life? etc #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter says that #LevellingUp cannot be "all of the above" as such policies ultimately become "none of the above", as measures and commitments end up becoming watered down "to the point of being meaningless" #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter also notes that the government needs to be clearer as to #LevellingUp is "within places" or "between places #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter argues that spending could be a "quick win" for this Government, with the #SpendingReview a way of laying out a vision for #LevellingUp. Also notes there are questions as to who decides how money is spent but this current Govt quite centralised #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter also says there is a role for #MetroMayors, but ponders whether Conservative Mayors may get preferential treatment. There is also questions for non-Mayoral areas and how #LevellingUp can be delivered there #LevellingUpDilemma
Finally, on place & public services, Rutter says that we have a "messy patchwork" of service providers and supply chains. Says that a key outcome for #LevellingUp could be deciding who is the convenor of public services in an area to ensure optimum provision #LevellingUpDilemma
Next speaker @MarkSandford3 discusses his observed tensions around delivering on the #LevellingUp agenda #LevellingUpDilemma
Firstly, Sandford says there is an "obvious trade-off" between central control and local discretion. Says #LevellingUp will need to be informed by local leaders' knowledge of their area; but this means Westminster may loose control of the agenda & narrative #LevellingUpDilemma
This is particularly problematic for #LevellingUp, as Sandford notes that both local leaders and the Government will want to claim credit for the benefits delivered locally under the Levelling Up programme #LevellingUpDilemma
However, Sandford notes in the past that the government has been able to "let go" on certain issues. Gives example of #MetroMayor investment funds, with Govt "checking compliance, but not dictating how Mayors spend their 💰" #LevellingUpDilemma
Next, Sandford says there is a tension on how much #LevellingUp is about "capital investment" versus "social infrastructure". Notes that, while big infrastructure is popular for Govt, studies show it is not most important for voters under levelling up #LevellingUpDilemma
Sandford notes that #MetroMayors have spent "significant energy" focusing their attention to "orphan policies" such as #MentalHealth which is "not the responsibility of one tier of Govt". Shows initiative in "plugging the gaps of public services" #LevellingUpDilemma
While Sandford notes that some of these "orphan policies" are increasingly getting attention from the government, they are still not a key part of the #LevellingUp agenda #LevellingUpDilemma
Finally, Sandford focuses on fiscal #Devolution - in particularly, how far the Govt is willing to increase the ways local/regional Govt to raise cash locally vs transfer grants #LevellingUpAgenda
Sandford argues that fiscal devolution "isn't a panacea" as areas most in need of #LevellingUp will usually have less capacity to raise funds. However, to be truly effective Levelling Up will need to respond to local needs, so 💰 will be raised & spent locally #LevellingUpDilemma
Final speaker, @joanneroney says that, while she hopes that #LevellingUp doesn't become "a meaningless slogan that applies to everything", but also does not want it to become "too narrow & prescriptive", so it is not responsive to local needs #LevellingUpDilemma
Roney also pushes against the idea that #LevellingUp should devolve to "North vs South" or "Redwall is a priority" dialogues. Says it needs to apply to all of the UK equally, and meet challenges of local places #LevellingUpDilemma
Roney argues that the #Coronavirus has highlighted the regional disparities across the country. This has fed the need for the Govt to create clear narratives around #LevellingUp for improving health & wellbeing of people & places & creating good employment #LevellingUpDilemma
Turning to #GreaterManchester, Roney says that, while it has a mature #Devolution deal, she does not believe that #LevellingUp will not be "a continuation of current level of Devolution". It will need to create clarity about next wave of devolution #LevellingUpDilemma
Roney says that this must include further clarification around what the #MetroMayor is responsible for, & is accountable to government for, while also recognising that the Local Authorities in the GM Area are also "ready & willing" for further powers devolved #LevellingUpDilemma
In particular, Roney says that further #Devolution is needed on transport, Net Zero and public sector reform, in order for the Mayor and constituent UAs in Greater Manchester to deliver for their citizens #LevellingUpDilemma
On #SocialCare, Roney says that reforming the sector is essential both for improving the health & wellbeing of people, as well as creating skilled and green jobs for people in the sector - which is a "significant overlap" with #LevellingUp aspirations #LevellingUpDilemma
On the future of #LevellingUp Roney says that the Govt must recognise the global reach of cities such as #Manchester & help support #Innovation in those cities to help both place-based regeneration & harnessing local knowledge base to create global innovations #LevellingUpDilemma
The webinar now moves on to a Q&A session #LevellingUpDilemma
First Q is on how Govt's attitudes to competency of #LocalGovt has changed as a result of levelling up. Rutter says historically there has not been clarity around who is responsible for what. This is why #MetroMayors were made as they were accountable to people #LevellingUpAgenda
While this created more transparency, Rutter says this also gave people a greater profile for Mayors, which meant that opposition parties could use local successes as an eg what they would do in Govt. Says this is why May & Johnson "went cold" on Devolution #LevellingUpDilemma
Roney partially agrees, but says "clarity more important than the politics". Says GM has shown what stable & strong leadership can deliver. GM is "evidence-led" & works with business to deliver for the region. Calls on Govt to provide clarity on what is needed #LevellingUpDilemma
Sandford says that, while we hear a lot about the impact Metro Mayors - particularly Tees Valley - they are comparatively small organisation. Echoes Ben Houchen's concern that capacity needs to be built slowly before devolving further powers t MCAs #LevellingUpDilemma
The next question is on the delivery of #LevellingUp. Rutter hypothesises that the lack of metrics is to ensure that the Government is able to remain vague about what it hopes the desired outcomes will be - "if you don't define it, you can't measure it" #LevellingUpDilemma
On how #Devolution can be delivered in non-Mayoral areas, Roney says that there are areas any local area can collaborate and "devolve" on to help build capacity in a place & deliver for local residents: Skills, investment silos and Public Sector reform #LevellingUpDilemma
On public appetite & pressure on #LevellingUp & #Devolution & whether Govt will need to react to public opinion, Sandford says while there is a desire to improve localities, most of the electorate "are not interested in finer details of Metro Mayors" #LevellingUpDilemma
Sandford also notes that local press does reveal a general distrust of Councils. Argues that, as a result, the Govt would not be bound to further rounds of #Devolution, assuming that results are delivered #LevellingUpDilemma
Final question is on whether the forthcoming White Paper will be on "bringing other localities up to the MCA gold standard" of #Devolution. Roney disagrees that it will be "that narrow" #LevellingUpDilemma
Roney believes that the Government will give priority on #Devolution to areas that already have an MCA or County Deal proposal in place ahead of the publication of the White Paper #LevellingUpDilemma
On areas that already have MCAs, Roney says that these areas should be "empowered to delivering on the government's agenda" - says that the priorities for Greater Manchester will be on Net Zero, the Union Connectivity Review and Levelling Up #LevellingUpDilemma
Sandford say that responses to Parliamentary Questions have made the government's intentions "difficult to read". However, predicts that the Govt has an appetite to "create new institutions", but it is not clear how much powers these bodies will have #LevellingUpDilemma
Rutter says that the Spending Review is just as important at the White Paper - says that this will be where they government "puts its money where its mouth is" in terms of its priorities for future #Devolution & #LevellingUp commitments #LevellingUpDilemma
Interesting insights into Govt’s future commitments on #LevellingUp & how & by who it will be delivered. Thanks @joanneroney @MarkSandford3 & @jillongovt for your insights, to @AndrewCities for chairing & @CentreforCities for hosting! #LevellingUpDilemma

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