With dramatic variances in wealth, health, life chances and wellbeing across the UK, a government White Paper on the subject of “levelling up” is expected to be published this Autumn (@NorthumbriaUni).

The phrase levelling up was central to the current Conservative government’s election manifesto in 2019 and has since been described as the government’s “defining mission” to address regional inequalities.

Expert academics at Northumbria University have been commissioned to edit a special edition of the prestigious peer-reviewed Local Economy journal on the Levelling Up policy, which has been emphasised in many speeches by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and now has a government department renamed after it – the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Joyce Liddle, Professor of Public Leadership and Enterprise and John Shutt, Professor of Public Policy and Management – both of the University’s Newcastle Business School – have already led roundtable discussions at the House of Commons on the future of the Northern Powerhouse and edited books on The North East After Brexit: Impact and Policy.

They are also undertaking research on devolution and the new Mayoral Combined Authorities, such as the North of Tyne Combined Authority, which is a partnership between Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland councils.

Here, they provide analysis on what we know so far about the Levelling Up agenda and how it may be delivered.

  • Clarity – what is levelling up and what could it mean for our day-to-day lives?

Levelling up is the government's main policy mantra and now we have a renamed central government department and a big hitting Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove, appointed to drive devolution further. We are expecting to hear more about county devolution deals and to hear about more Levelling Up funds and replacements for European regional funds.

  • Scope – will it help to tackle key issues such as struggling town and city centres, health inequalities, homelessness, and poverty?

We still do not know what levelling up is trying to achieve where. Is it just for the North or is it also delivering to the Midlands and London, in urban and rural areas? What targets and outcomes are government seeking to achieve through to 2025? Is it about the economy and jobs? Or health? Or wealth? Or tacking poverty? These are all different and complex and inter-related issues which we hope the White Paper will clarify.

  • Transparency – how can government ensure initiatives focused on the areas most in need are equitable and deliverable, particularly with the varied structures of local governance which exist?

We need to understand what levelling up means for different places and who is delivering the levelling up programmes. Is it local authorities or new partnerships?

  • Accountability and governance – what kind of clear objectives are needed and what timescales are realistic?

We are assuming that the Autumn Spending Review on 27 October will set out three-year spending targets but levelling up is a long-term programme and we need a clear view to 2030 and beyond.

Professor Shutt explained:

“The Levelling Up policy is complex and requires coordinated and integrated action but there is a danger that there will be no clear strategy and plan and too many individual projects with no real plan for the United Kingdom as a whole.

“The role of local government and the NHS is central to this strategy and we need a clear view of how they should work together and build Place partnerships which will focus their work and bring stakeholders together to deliver targeted outcomes which can really build back better.”

Professor Liddle added:

“Michael Gove’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference gave little clarity on implementation. In it he said Levelling Up meant strengthening local leadership, raising living standards, improving public services, and enhancing people’s pride in the places they live.

“Nothing on how these would be achieved, or whether resources would be sufficient to achieve this. Until the Chancellor outlines his plans, local authorities will not know how any of these things could be implemented.”

Newcastle Business School actively engages with the local community and makes a meaningful contribution to the regional economy. Through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, academic and professional expertise can be provided to help organisations improve profitability and efficiency.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page