Ministers roasted over meaning of levelling up

Ministers were roasted in Parliament yesterday as they were challenged to define the government’s flagship levelling up policy, with MPs on all sides complaining they were ‘struggling to understand’ the plans, according to a report in Northern Agenda.

Business minister Paul Scully and Luke Hall, minister for regional growth and local government, made what Northern Agenda described as an unconvincing attempt to explain the policy before the cross-party business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, saying it was “about improving life chances” and “improving outcomes”.

They met with a scathing response from MPs as they struggled to outline how any improvements will be measured or explain how the policy will fit into existing government plans and departments, said Northern Agenda. One Labour MP said levelling up was ‘everything and nothing at the same time’.

Darren Jones, Labour chair of the committee added that there was a ‘complete lack of understanding’ of the policy.

Jones said: ‘Given levelling up is supposedly a flagship policy for the government, I have to say with respect to the witnesses this is one of the poorest ministerial sessions I’ve chaired’. He also shared a video extract of the meeting on Twitter, asking: ‘Can anyone translate this for me?’ 

Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield, was among Conservatives on the committee who warned that there needed to be more clarity. He said: “Levelling up needs to be measurable, but it also needs to be understood at local levels.”