Northern regions in the UK have missed out on £21 million in ‘levelling up’ funding – widening the gap in regional inequality.
All regions in the North of England have been found to have received less than their expected share of the flagship ‘Levelling Up’ fund compared to other regions in the UK.
An analysis of the government’s Community Renewal Fund (CRF) showed that the allocation process could run the risk of widening existing inequalities between regions in the North and South.
Inside the analysis
NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM), the University of Manchester, and Health Equity North (HEN) conducted the analysis.
Looking at the first round of the CRF across UK regions, the team found that:
- Nationally, there was no significant correlation between regional economic resilience and funding allocations.
- All regions in the North of England received less funding than their expected share.
- The least resilient region, the North East, received £13.4 million less.
- The South West received £9.9 million more than their expected share.
The CRF allocation process
The government used an economic resilience index to identify 100 priority places in the UK that would benefit from the CRF.
More than 10 steps are involved between identification to bid approval, with the final decision being made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities.
The analysis used the government’s methodology to develop a regional economic resilience index that would deliver ‘fair’ funding allocation, and compared it to the actual allocation.
They found that the average resilience score in England was 46.0, ranging from 28.5 in the North East, and 65.6 in London.
“To mitigate this risk, there needs to be allocation of funding at a regional level, based on an objective measure of need and involving local leaders in decision making,” said Dr Luke Munford, co-academic director at Health Equity North.
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