Updated May 27, 2021

Millions announced to level-up high streets

The Government have announced a range of policies to level up town centres across England along with £860 million in funding. They hope that these new policies will improve town centre infrastructure, creating more public sector jobs and better access to education.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities across England, and Boris Johnson has announced his levelling-up agenda to help combat this. He said that he wants to invest in essential public services, improve living standards and increase opportunities for people no matter where they live.

As part of this plan, £830 million will be shared across 57 local areas to transform their high streets. This will include the:
  • creation of a new cinema and market food hall in Hull;
  • building of a new outdoor performance venue in Taunton; and
  • repurposing of vacant retail space in Sutton-in-Ashfield to provide offices and hospitality venues.

Local authorities will also receive support to improve the quality of teaching in the area. This is aimed at benefiting areas which have below-average numbers of pupils in good or outstanding schools, such as in Plymouth, North Liverpool and North Durham and City. The Government's plan is that these schools will be encouraged to join multi-academy trusts.

They have also announced the relocation of more than 3,000 civil service jobs outside of the capital for the Home Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These jobs will move to regional hubs in Stoke-on-Trent, Edinburgh and Belfast by 2025. This is part of the Government's pledge to move 22,000 civil service jobs outside of London and the South East by 2030 to create opportunities elsewhere across the country and make policymakers representative of the areas and communities they serve.

Boris Johnson said: "As the country gets back on its feet, the Government has renewed its commitment to levelling up and tackling the issues that really matter to people. Making sure our children get the best possible education, transforming our town centres and correcting the regional imbalance of public sector roles – this is levelling up in action."

"Not only will we beat the pandemic and recover from its impact, I am determined to seize the opportunity it presents to create a fairer society, improve lives and build back better once and for all."