In response to the publication today of the government's Levelling Up White Paper, Matt Whittaker, CEO of Pro Bono Economics, said:

“It is encouraging to see the White Paper acknowledge the importance of elevating social capital alongside economic capital in any attempt to level up the country. The government’s emphasis on driving up personal wellbeing across the UK as an “overarching ambition” is especially welcome. Countless surveys have shown people want levelling up to be about more than just roads, bridges and broadband.

“Anchoring levelling up plans in time-limited, measurable targets suggests the government is serious about outcomes. And it is pleasing to see a focus on evidence and on learning by doing. But matching outcomes to ambitions will rest both on resources and on the process by which rhetoric is turned into reality.

“With little sign of new money being available, it is essential civil society is treated as a partner, not just in delivering on the government’s plans but in shaping them too. Charities, community groups and social enterprises are critical to the success of almost all of the government’s missions, from getting people furthest from the labour market into employment, to tackling neighbourhood crime.

“Repeated examples over the last 50 years have shown us that regeneration efforts tend to flounder unless they are supported by strong local civil society networks. That is why the Law Family Commission on Civil Society has recommended direct investment in civil society infrastructure in areas which need it the most, to ensure that levelling up can be more than just flash in the pan spending and deliver real, sustained change.”

Contact PBE's press office here.