News Article

Levelling Up the United Kingdom policy paper

On February 2 2022 the UK Government released it's Levelling Up the United Kingdom policy paper, which is a moral, social and economic programme for the whole of government. It sets out how the Government will spread opportunity more equally across the UK.

Whilst the furniture sector is not mentioned directly in the Executive Summary, the Research Association has reviewed the 16 page document and highlighted some sections which members may benefit from. These include:

  • investment of £3.8bn in skills planned by 2024-25 and a Lifetime Skills Guarantee in England, enabling 11m adults to gain an A Level or equivalent qualification for free, as well as a new UK-wide adult numeracy programme and skills bootcamps;
  • £1.49bn in City and Growth Deals in every part of Scotland, £791m across Wales and £617m for deals covering the whole of Northern Ireland;
  • eight innovative Freeports bringing jobs, investment and prosperity across England with a commitment to deliver more Freeports in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland;
  • 101 towns across England receiving £2.4bn from the Towns Fund to unleash their economic potential, and the £830m Future High Streets Fund regenerating 72 towns and high streets and helping them recover from the pandemic

The summary talks about a contemporary Medici model, which is a recipe for a new Industrial Revolution, which depends on harnessing an array of interventions and catalysing a range of sectors. The Government state that levelling up will require us to:

  • a. boost productivity, pay, jobs and living standards by growing the private sector, especially in those places where they are lagging;
  • b. spread opportunities and improve public services, especially in those places where they are weakest;
  • c. restore a sense of community, local pride and belonging, especially in those places where they have been lost; and
  • d. empower local leaders and communities, especially in those places lacking local agency.

Leveling up will be based around 6 'capitals':

  • Physical capital – infrastructure, machines and housing.
  • Human capital – the skills, health and experience of the workforce.
  • Intangible capital – innovation, ideas and patents.
  • Financial capital – resources supporting the financing of companies.
  • Social capital – the strength of communities, relationships and trust.
  • Institutional capital – local leadership, capacity and capability.

As regards skills, by 2030, it's expected that the number of people successfully completing high-quality skills training will have significantly increased in every area of the UK. In England, this will lead to 200,000 more people successfully completing high-quality skills training annually, driven by 80,000 more people completing courses in the lowest skilled areas.

The funding of courses and the governance of colleges will be overhauled in line with employers’ needs. Local Skills Improvement Plans, together with supporting funding, will be set up across England to set out the key changes needed in a place to make technical skills training more responsive to skills needs.

By 2030, the UK Government wants to ensure that pay, employment and productivity has risen in every area of the UK, with the gap between the top performing and other areas closing (Mission One). That means supporting the private sector – the real engine of wealth creationto invest more, grow more and take more risks. As well as developing a more flexible and better regulatory model for business outside the EU, we will also reform outdated EU rules restricting investment from pension funds and others so we can see more money fow into long-term capital

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will aim to invest at least 55% of its total domestic R&D funding outside the Greater South East by 2024‑25.

See more about the levelling up report here.