Nigel Emmerson, Partner and Head of our Newcastle office, comments on the Levelling Up White Paper, with a focus on the North East.

“The 12 Missions to Level Up the UK are welcome news. Having targets will focus minds and give us all something to work towards. Increased devolution is the key to effective levelling up, giving more local mayors increased powers and funding. The North East needs to make sure that it takes advantage of the devolution deal in a coordinated and combined way.

“The North East needs strong local leaders with the power and resources to effect real change in the locations which they know best.

“I was particularly glad to see the expanded Mayoral Combined Authority for the North East get a mention, as well as Durham one of the counties to be invited to agree a county deal.

“The increase of R&D funding outside of the Greater South East by at least 40% by 2030 was also welcome news. The North East is ideally placed to take advantage of this increase, particularly at innovative developments such as The Helix in Newcastle, where our new office The Spark, is based. I am pleased to see the renewed focus on education and health disparities which are acute issues in the North East. 

“I am delighted to see the scrapping of the 80/20 rule, which will see government funding for housing supply moved from London and the South East to brownfield sites in the North and Midlands.

“The introduction of the decent homes standard for the Private Rented Sector will drive up standards of rented housing which is a good thing - renters should expect a decent minimum standard of housing, irrespective of whether they are in the social housing or private rented sector. Increased funding for SME housebuilders will also increase the supply of housing. It is good to see a restated commitment by government to building more genuinely affordable social housing.

“Generally, we are pleased to see a real focus on housing in the White Paper. However, levelling up will not be achieved unless there are enough good quality affordable homes available.”