Ministers 'conscious' that Levelling Up directors being offered 'a lot of money' in advertised roles

Parliamentary portrait of Neil O'Brien (Parliament)Parliamentary portrait of Neil O'Brien (Parliament)
Parliamentary portrait of Neil O'Brien (Parliament)
Government officials are “conscious” of the high salary being offered to Levelling Up Directors, a Minister has said, as he promised that those hired would be of “extremely high calibre” with an “ability to make things happen”.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities is advertising for 12 such roles across England, including one in Yorkshire and the Humber, which will pay up to £144,000.

Levelling Up Minister Neil O’Brien said he would want any appointee to “deliver for people in Yorkshire”.

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Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Government thinktank in London yesterday, Mr O’Brien explained: “For those kinds of salaries, we will only appoint these people if they are people of extremely high calibre and heft and ability to make things happen.”

He went on: “We had our first experiment with this in the North West and it is making a big difference to places like Blackpool.

"We’re conscious that it is a lot of money and so it has to deliver for people in Yorkshire. And it has to serve every part of Yorkshire and indeed the Humber as well.

“To help places where they’ve already got mayors and places where they’re trying to negotiate devolution deals to get what they need out of Whitehall.

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“To know where to find the right person and how to unlock and make the magic happen.” He added: It’s really there to serve local leaders and local people in Yorkshire.

It has previously been revealed that senior civil servant Sue Gray, who is responsible for the internal government investigation on partygate, will be on the panel that picks the new 12 directors across the country.

In a foreword to the candidate pack, Michael Gove, inset, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said the new roles represent “an opportunity for exceptional leaders to work collaboratively with local areas and central government to drive new and innovative local policy proposals, based on a real understanding of local issues and opportunities”.

He added: “Levelling Up Directors will play a critical function in empowering decision-making in local areas and ensuring that central government decision-making is informed and shaped by local insight. These roles are at the forefront of the Government’s levelling up mission.

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“Levelling Up Directors need to be innovators, collaborators and challengers with a clear understanding of both the local and central Government contexts and a passion for addressing inequalities across the UK.”