East of England LGA Responds to the publication of the Levelling up White Paper


The East of England Local Government Association (EELGA) today welcomes the publication of the much-anticipated Levelling-Up White Paper, setting out government’s plans to increase prosperity and opportunity across the UK.

The local government sector has consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver real change on the ground for the benefit of our communities. Our members have long advocated for:

• More local control over decision making, funding and economic growth opportunities

• Greater government support to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth across our region

• A move away from competitive and fragmented funding pots

The White Paper sets out the government’s ambition to decentralise and devolve more funding and powers to local areas. We welcome the early invitation for Norfolk and Suffolk to agree ‘county deals’ as well as the support for Education Improvement Areas across the East of England.

We also welcome the government’s ambition to give all areas the level of control over their transport networks currently enjoyed by London. However, this must be backed up by sufficient funding and not take an urban-centric approach. The transport needs of our region’s rural and coastal communities and addressing poor east to west connectivity are critical to the region’s economic potential, and to address existing inequalities.

We also look forward to further detail on the announcement of large increases to R&D funding outside of the ‘Greater South East’. Whilst we strongly believe that all areas of the UK should be supported to increase their activity in this field, this should not be at the disadvantage to the East of England where there is already strong track record of science, innovation and research delivery and an ambitious vision for this sector.

We will be assessing the White Paper in full, including the detail regarding the framework for achieving devolution, what this means in practical terms for all parts of the local government sector, and identifying where the policy still falls short of our expectations as a region and a sector.

Cllr Linda Haysey, Chairperson of the East of England LGA said:

“While we were pleased to see the news of greater devolution to Norfolk and Suffolk, all parts of our region need to benefit from this policy between now and 2030. We will be keen to measure the progress and impact of this on our people and places.

Often, the East of England is considered to be comparable with London and the South East. However, the region has its own unique assets and characteristics, with significant pockets of deprivation. As outlined in our recent report, with the local government sector leading the way and with the right support from government, the East of England is well placed to deliver a strong economic recovery, not only for our region, but also for the UK as a whole.”