Government ministry renamed Department for Levelling Up as former PM adviser says more work needed to 'shape message'

A top Government ministry will be renamed the Department for Levelling Up, however one of Boris Johnson’s former top advisers said ministers “need to do more work to shape that message” on the flagship policy.

Michael Gove in Downing Street during Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reshuffle, he was later named as the Secretary of State for Levelling Up as head of the department formally known as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (PA/Victoria Jones)

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will be officially retitled the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Government confirmed on Sunday, with Michael Gove serving as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up following Boris Johnson' s reshuffle earlier this week.

A new Levelling Up Taskforce will also be created, headed up by former Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane.

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Lee Cain, former head of communications for Boris Johnson, told the BBC that levelling up “can’t just be high streets and infrastructure”.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr show he said: “the critique of levelling up is that it is a slogan without a policy” and went on: “I think the Government certainly needs to do more work to shape that message.

“For us in the last election it was talking to people in communities that traditionally have been sort of left behind in this country, looking at skills, educational opportunities, bringing in good jobs.”

Mr Cain added: “It can’t just be high streets and infrastructure, it’s got to be a far broader scope involving business and community leaders.”

Announcing the new department name and appointments Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This Government is committed to uniting and levelling up every part of the UK and I am determined that as we build back better from the pandemic we are geared up with the teams and expertise to deliver on that promise.”

Mr Gove described the levelling up promise as “the defining mission of this Government” and added: “Our relentless focus will be on delivering for those overlooked families and undervalued communities across the United Kingdom”.

Mr Haldane, who is joining the Cabinet Office on a six month secondment from the Royal Society of Arts, where he is chief executive, said levelling up is “one of the signature challenges of our time”

He added: “It has also been a personal passion throughout my professional career so I am delighted and honoured to be making a contribution to this crucial objective.”