Levelling up plans revealed

ended 02. February 2022

Overnight,  Michael Gove revealed the Government's ‘Levelling Up’ plan for the UK. We asked small business owners with time to spare for their verdict. Their views can be seen below.

13 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"The fact that very little money is being thrown at it shows exactly how committed the Government really is to levelling up. The whole levelling up strategy is a sop to those who voted them in. As ever with the Government, they say one thing but do something entirely different, or nothing at all."
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"It’s abundantly clear that the Government is trying to pull away from its own crises by getting everyone to think we will all be levelling up together. Sadly, this isn’t Super Mario, it’s real life. Very little additional money and nothing specific enough to make a difference. We are one of the most unequal economies in the developed world, and this agenda is the equivalent of sweeping a city with a toothbrush."
Star Quote
"Michael Gove is an antonym for Midas. While the HS2 project is currently running at a budget of over £100 billion, the Levelling Up budget, which ostensibly seeks to do far more than provide a train service for people who want to get to London quicker, is attributed only £4.8 billion. It demonstrates a lack of commitment by the government to actually do anything fundamental to improve the north-south divide. It's relying on a headline that ‘£4.8 billion is quite a lot of money’ to fool the public into thinking it has serious intent."
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"Levelling up is a phrase that should be banned unless you're playing video games. It means very little to anyone except policymakers eager to sound like they have a plan. The Government should be focusing on fixing the countless gaps where individuals are slipping down and out of any measures that should be there to help them."
"Forget levelling up, we should be levelling down. A fair and just society does not require multi-millionaires and we should be taxing the giants of this world like Amazon so they pay their fair share. Creating a truly equal society needs to come from the people, not Government. All I can see in the levelling up plans are wealth-making plans driven by the few for the few."
"It’s all noise and nothing else. The Government have said they are doing things to help the high street for years, and they haven’t done a thing. With the amount of debt we're in, we should be focussing on rejuvenation not levelling up. What really helps the community? Having politicians that we can trust."
"I have the perfect story to show how the 'levelling up' spiel will change precisely nothing without some pretty huge changes. I was talking to a good friend of mine who now works for a 'tech startup' mortgage broker that has received a couple of million pounds funding to set up and get established. No disrespect for what they do, they do it well and I'm genuinely pleased things are going so well for my friend. But at the same time our business in Derbyshire has grown in two years to the point we do more mortgage applications a month than some of these 'tech start-ups' and are more profitable (many won't ever make a profit) with no outside help at all. My own personal capital, my home and my friendships put on the line to try and grow what I hope is the best business I can. Rinse and repeat that story across the country and across most industries. I'm not bitter, I love what we're building here at Peak and I'm enjoying the process, but I do think 'what could we accomplish with that sort of financial support and a level playing field?'. With all the money to invest in great businesses and start-ups getting hoovered up by the flashy firms inside the M25 those regional divides just continue to get bigger and bigger."
"As a proud "Boltonian" and small business owner I applaud any effort to level up more deprived parts of the UK, like there are here in Bolton. However, the plan doesn't seem to include anything too radical or much different from existing efforts. It also fails to address major economic issues such as poor transport connections between towns and cities, or criminal gangs causing misery for millions."
"The fact the government is at least recognising the extreme geographical inequality in the UK can only be a good thing. Eliminating illiteracy and innumeracy is long overdue; it's scandalous how many young people in this country can not do simple math without the aid of a calculator. It's a massive failure of our education system. The investments in public transport outside the capital, 5G broadband, R&D and skills training are also to be welcomed. Without it, many regions of England will struggle to attract inward investment. Other ideas like 'improving well-being' seem vague, almost like they've been bolted on, late at night, over a warm beer. And 'creating' more first time buyers? Typically the government has put the cart before the horse, desperate as it is to maintain the absurd level of house prices in this country. We need to create cheaper housing first, by building more homes and making speculative property investment more expensive."
"I can’t help but feel we are listening to a sixth former at public school talking up their head boy manifesto. Ultimately a load of waffle and underhand promises to pass on contracts to his mates with no evaluation of past effectiveness on promises made by the exiting prefects. I wouldn’t be surprised if old Etonian Tom Parker-Bowles is tasked with writing scathing online reviews of school dinners to diminish the lockdown legacy of obese children. It’s what they eat at home and the re-education of parents that’s the issue, not if one's suckling pig has been prepared to perfection."
"This is just more cash for councils to put into their back pockets and still insist they are hard done by."
Pob can take his plans and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine. The great British public have had enough of dead cats and empty words. The sooner him and his ilk are thrown from office the better. They have done nothing but systematically destroy this country over the last 12 years. We deserve better.
As seems to be the "new normal" this plan has no substance and does not tackle the real issues! To truly level up we have to get people into work, but I don't see any meaningful proposals here that will achieve that. We currently have more job vacancies than ever, and yet there is a huge army of people who want to work but don't get the opportunity - people with disadvantaged backgrounds, disabilities, homeless, ex-offenders, immigrants, anyone aged 50+, the list is endless. It is a truly ridiculous paradox to have willing workers plus job vacancies and yet be unable to match the two!!