Confirmed: Whitepaper upgrade delayed “until January”

The upgrade white paper is to be delayed from its previously announced date later this year until 2022, the government has confirmed.

A spokesperson for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities told LGC that the white paper will be released “in January”.

Media reports over the weekend included speculation about the government’s plans for the newspaper. The Times reported that decentralization would play a crucial role and suggested further details of the government’s plans for the agreements with the counties.

The newspaper said the communities secretary had “the ambition that every part of England will have a local leader with equivalent powers in London by the end of the decade.” This could mean that rural areas, where the term “mayor” may not be considered appropriate, are instead offered the possibility of electing governors.

According to the report, an idea under consideration but not yet given the green light from Mr. Gove is a “statutory leveling quango, which would monitor every aspect of government policy for its impact on regional inequalities.”

LGC reported last week that Norfolk, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Durham, Devon and Cornwall were seen as the first to complete the first wave of deals.

Responding to the reports, a spokesperson for the County Councils Network (CCN) said: “The CCN is disappointed with the reported delay in upgrading the white paper, but the network continues to have positive discussions with the government. and key partners on the implementation of a program of county devolution agreements.

“The CCN has always maintained that the focus should be on devolving power directly to the strong local leadership already in place within county and unitary authorities. The government is committed to taking a flexible approach rather than a single policy, and CCN will continue to work with it to come up with ambitious devolution agreements for the regions of the county.

Also responding to the reported delay, Jason Longhurst, location strategic director at Bradford MDC, said: the new department.

“Ultimately, the government will only succeed in its central upgrading mission if it leaves a lasting legacy of economic growth that enables cities in the North and Midlands to be self-reliant rather than depending on government handouts. . “

“If leveling is to mean anything – if it’s to transform Britain – then it has to have the ability to transform places like Bradford,” he said.

A DLUHC spokesperson said work on the white paper “is progressing well, with an upgrading committee” having met several times and ministers working closely together to carry out the central mission of government. ” .

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