Public transport across the UK to be brought ‘significantly’ closer to the standards of London as part of new Levelling Up agenda

Public transport connectivity across the UK to be “significantly closer to the standards of London” including integrated ticketing and simpler fares, as part of the Government’s new Levelling Up agenda.

Today, the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove will unveil the government’s flagship Levelling Up White Paper. This document will set out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity and prosperity to all parts of it.

The White Paper will set out a complete ‘system change’ of how government works that will be implemented to level up the UK, with the key transport elements brought to you by Highways News.

A devolution deal for “every part of England that wants one”, with powers “at or approaching the highest level of devolution and a simplified, long-term funding settlement,” has also been promised as part of the new plans.

This forms part of 12 bold, national missions – all quantifiable and to be achieved by 2030. These missions are the policy objectives for levelling up, and thus form the heart of the government’s agenda for the 2020s. They will be given status in law in a flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

These missions will be cross-government, cross-society efforts. The first mission, for instance, will see pay, employment, and productivity grow everywhere, and the disparities between the top and worst performing areas narrow. This is the first time a government has placed narrowing spatial economic disparities at the heart of its agenda before.

The missions will be underpinned by a suite of public metrics to track progress and monitor the evolution of spatial disparities. The government will legislate such that it has a statutory duty to publish an annual report updating the public on the progress of these missions, with a new Levelling Up Advisory Council including members such as Sir Paul Collier, renowned economist at Oxford’s Blavatnik’s School of Government, providing further support and constructive analysis.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “The United Kingdom is an unparalleled success story. We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies. Ours is the world’s most spoken language. We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.

“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. As some areas have flourished, others have been left in a cycle of decline. The UK has been like a jet firing on only one engine.

“Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.

“This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our 12 new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”

The government said it recognises that if it tries to level up the UK alone, it will fail. That is why the White Paper will detail the largest devolution of power from Whitehall to local leaders across England in modern times.

The government added that the strong local leadership mayors like Andy Street, Ben Houchen and Andy Burnham have shown, and wishes to replicate this success across England.

“Fundamental to this ‘devolution revolution’ will be a new model for England with more mayors for those areas that want one. We will invite the first 9 areas to agree new county deals and seek to agree further MCA deals, extending devolution across England. The first 9 areas invited to begin negotiations will be Cornwall, Derbyshire & Derby, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay, Durham, Hull & East Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire & Nottingham, and Suffolk,” it said as part of a statement.

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