Government’s levelling up plans ‘need total reorientation’

BBC.- A key government advisory body has criticised the government’s plans for «levelling up» the UK in its final report before being disbanded.

The Industrial Strategy Council, chaired by the Bank of England’s chief economist, said the policy needed «comprehensive reorientation».

A promise to level up different regions of the UK was a key plank of the Conservative Party election manifesto.

The BBC has asked the business department for a comment.

The Industrial Strategy Council (ISC) said the government’s Plan for Growth, released alongside the Budget, was «over reliant on infrastructure spending».

It also criticised plans for «centrally controlled funding pots thinly spread across a range of initiatives», saying international and historical evidence was that this was «unlikely to be a recipe for success».

The prime minister’s levelling up agenda, designed to bridge gaps in economic performance and opportunities between different areas and regions, is described as his government’s «central mission».

The ISC’s report also pointed to a lack of detail on plans for help for specific sectors of the economy, and said green plans «are not yet a practical roadmap» for delivering net zero emissions by 2050.

It also said there should be more coordination with unions, and independent experts should judge the government’s progress.

The report praises elements of the governments new growth plan, however, particularly for infrastructure spending and the establishment of a new advanced research body.

‘Pudding without a theme’

In a separate report the council also praises the government’s involvement in the rapid production of vaccines, and suggests it offers lessons for the whole economy.

There was some criticism from industrial groups after the body set up by Theresa May was abruptly terminated just ahead of the Budget.

It will coincide with the government adopting a new strategy to boost economic growth.

After questioning from the former PM and former Business Secretary Greg Clark this month, current Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that currently industrial strategy was a «pudding without a theme» and that the government’s «Build Back Better» campaign would be a «departure from the industrial strategy brand».

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