Levelling Up White Paper pushed back into 2022, Downing Street confirms

The long-promised Levelling Up white paper has been pushed back to next year, Number 10 has confirmed.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove (PA)

The document that is expected to set out the policy programme and metrics for measuring the success of the Prime Minister’s key election pledge will now be unveiled in January, according to the Prime Minister’s official spokesman.

It had been due to be made public this year, and until very recently had been promised before Parliament breaks for Christmas at the end of the month. Before that, it had been expected before the Budget earlier in the Autumn.

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The spokesman told journalists on Monday: "The White Paper will be published in January."

When asked if the Prime Minister was disappointed that the publication had been pushed back, the spokesman added: “I think levelling up was the thread that ran through the whole of the Autumn Budget and spending review.”

The news comes after weekend reports that Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove is considering introducing American style Governors in rural areas which do not have mayors.

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According to The Times, another idea under consideration is the creation of a levelling up quango, which would monitor all Government policies for its impact on regional inequality.

A new blueprint for levelling up, published on Monday, called on the Government to treat towns and cities across Yorkshire and the North as economic partners, rather than competitors.

A report by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership lobbying group chaired by former Chancellor George Osborne on how to improve the fortunes of the region’s towns said there has been an ongoing misapprehension that the success of city centres like Manchester and Leeds has led to decline in nearby towns.

It said: “The reality is that the challenges of some towns of the North, particularly in many post-industrial areas, would have been much more acute without the regeneration of Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. The vitality of places like Stockport, Guiseley and Gateshead is due to their shared success with their near neighbours.”