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‘Levelling up’ inquiry: Ministers to be questioned by Committee, Tuesday 18th May, 10.30am

14 May 2021

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee concludes its ‘levelling up’ inquiry with an evidence hearing featuring Government Ministers from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The session on Tuesday morning (from 10.30am) is likely to examine recent developments concerning ‘levelling-up’, including the Government’s announcement of a Levelling Up White Paper, to be published later this year, and a new No10 – Cabinet Office Unit.

The session is also likely to look at funds for levelling-up, how the Government is measuring the impact of its levelling up agenda. and the role of LEPs and local industrial strategies in light of the Industrial Strategy’s replacement by the Plan for Growth.

The ‘levelling-up’ session is the first of two panels on Tuesday morning. The second panel will be for the Committee’s one-off hearing on the Government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy.

Evidence session: ‘Levelling-up’, 10.30am, Tuesday 18th May

This session will be available to watch on Parliament TV

Please note there is no access to Parliament and the session will have remote participation by witnesses and Committee members.

Witnesses: (10.30-11.30am)

  • Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Luke Hall MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Kate O'Neill, Director of Policy, Cities and Local Growth Unit, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Levelling-up inquiry – evidence sessions so far…

The BEIS Committee heard on Tuesday 24 November from City Mayors & ‘Powerhouse’ representatives on questions including how far Powerhouses and City Mayors have enhanced economic capacity and delivery in their areas, their engagement with local communities and businesses and the support provided, and their views on how far Covid-19 will impact on delivering the ‘levelling-up’ agenda. Witnesses: Katherine Bennett, Chair Western Gateway, Rachael Greenwood, Director at Midlands Engine, Lord Kerslake, Chair UK2070 Commission, Henri Murison, Director Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Andrew Carter, Chief Executive at Centre for Cities, Rokhsana Fiaz, Mayor at Newham Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor at Bristol City Council, Mr Duncan Simpson, Research Director at Taxpayers' Alliance, Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor.

On Thursday 22 October the BEIS Committee questioned metro-mayors, including Andy Burnham, Mayor Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram, Mayor Liverpool City Region, Jamie Driscoll, Mayor North of Tyne, and Tim Bowles, Mayor West of England. The session on looked at questions around whether metro-mayors have sufficient tools and powers to advance the ‘levelling up’ agenda, how ‘levelling up’ can be effectively targeted and success measured and where new investment can pave the way for regional growth.

The hearing also focussed on the impact Covid-19 is likely to have on the levelling up agenda, including questions around the Government’s approach to supporting businesses in light of restrictions on trading.

The BEIS Committee’s opening evidence session for its ‘levelling-up’ inquiry took place on Thursday 1st October where it heard from local government and from regional business voices. The introductory session on Thursday looked at questions around what is ‘levelling up’, the evidence base and how it can be measured, how ‘levelling up’ can be effectively targeted and investment in skills and R&D. The hearing also covered questions around the Shared Prosperity Fund and local funding post-Brexit, and how the Government’s Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, ‘Project Speed’, can support the levelling-up agenda.

Levelling up sub-inquiry & the overall Post-pandemic economic growth inquiry

The Post-pandemic economic growth inquiry, launched in June, is an over-arching inquiry likely to run through the Parliament and will include a series of sub-inquiries examining issues such as devolution and the ‘levelling-up’ agenda, the role Government might play as a shareholder or investor in businesses in the future, and the measures needed to rebuild consumer confidence and stimulate economically and environmentally sustainable growth. Further terms of reference for these sub-inquiries will be published during the course of the Parliament.


Image credit: Mike via Pexels