The eagerly awaited white paper ‘levelling up’ was released this month. It fleshes out the key concepts referred to in the Autumn Budget and at the Conservative conference last year. The physical activity sector will be playing an essential role in delivering the UK government’s plans to “level up” and tackle longstanding economic, social and health inequalities.
The paper will be codified into law with 12 national “levelling up missions”, shifting power from the central government to local leaders. This would give local leaders the capacity to make changes that reflect the needs in their own areas. The focus would be on narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy between areas where it is highest and lowest by 2030.
This regional ‘London-style’ devolution-like measure will give regions in England the opportunity to develop mayors, making it one of the biggest shifts since the introduction of mayors and devolution across the British Isles. Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, added two measures he believes must be tackled first to give an overall boost to the UK’s levelling up ambitions.
Huw argues that there remains a disparity of support for gyms, pools and leisure centres, and secondly, there needs to be clarity on how the sector can be utilised in the agenda. He added:
“The work of Sport England and its ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy is important, but can only be part of the solution.”
“What we now need to see is concrete detail on how the Government will shape and improve the landscape in which our sector operates, including clarity on access to future investment, tax and regulatory reform, and policy development.”