Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
24 January 2022

Levelling down: Boris Johnson is set to spend less on English regional development than previous Tory governments

The north of England is at risk of losing £300m for regional economic development after Brexit.

By Michael Goodier

Most English regions are set to receive less funding for regional development than they did under David Cameron or Theresa May, despite levelling up being the flagship policy of Boris Johnson’s government.

An analysis by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Pace think tank at Teesside University and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation compared funding under the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund against a forecast of future spending under the new Levelling Up Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF). The study found that people in the north of England are at risk of losing £300m for regional economic development.

The researchers found that those communities in greatest need in England will be significantly worse off after Brexit than they were before, with the new funds not compensating for the loss of European funding. Tees Valley (one of the most deprived areas of the UK) is expected to see annual funding cut from £46m to £21m per year, unless Treasury ministers intervene.

The estimates assume that funding is allocated in a similar manner to the Community Renewal Fund – the pilot phase of the SPF. Devolved nations and Cornwall have their funding protected in cash terms, as promised in the Conservative manifesto and the last spending review.

The government is expected to release a delayed white paper on levelling up in February.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them