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ATCM Leads on Efforts to Influence UK Government White Paper and Subsequent Bill

The Levelling Up White Paper was published on the 2nd February 2022 as ‘a moral, social and economic programme for the whole of government to spread opportunity more equally’. ATCM is leading on efforts with parliamentarians and industry to shape the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill following the publication of the White Paper. This follows three key meetings to build a comprehensive picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the White Paper.

Industry-Wide Consultation

On the 3rd March, ATCM convened a meeting of High Streets Conversations to summarise the White Paper with members across the UK to get their thoughts.

This was followed up by meeting of the High Street Task Force Sector Leaders Group, chaired by ATCM, which brought together other trade bodies such as the British Retail Consortium, British Property Federation, Hospitality, British Beer and Pub Association, National Market Traders Federation and many others. Guest speakers included Lynne Miles, Director of Policy for the Cities and Local Growth Unit at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Richard Wilcox, CEO of Falmouth BID and Chair of the South West BIDs Group.

High Street Conversations - Levelling Up, 3 Mar 2022
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Parliamentary Engagement

All comments were collated for a special meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres themed ‘Levelling Up the High Street’, with a handful of MPs and representatives of key players across the industry such as the John Lewis Partnership and Landsec attending. Additional insight was provided by Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York BID and Co-Chair of the Northern BIDs Group.

APPG for Town Centres: Levelling Up the High Street, 30 Mar 2022
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Media Engagement

One policy announcement within the Levelling Up White Paper is making headlines. This is that the UK Government will force an auction of high street property if it is left vacant for 6 months or more. Over the Easter weekend, the Daily Mail leaked details of the policy which ATCM CEO, Ojay McDonald, was asked to comment on when interviewed on Wake Up to Money on BBC Radio 5 Live. This interview can be accessed on BBC iPlayer here.

Issues Identified

There are a number of issues identified which are a concern for members of ATCM. These include the following:

  • More detail required on the future of LEPs and broader role of regional economic development in England

  • Access to funding for local economic development for key players in place-making such as Town and Parish Councils.

  • Representation of small business and deprived areas on the Levelling Up Advisory Council

  • How very disparate policy areas from skills to crime will be coordinated through the Levelling Up Programme

  • How progress over missions like ‘Pride of Place’ will be measured

  • Understanding the role of London in a broader levelling up strategy

  • The overlap with the UK Government’s Green Industrial Strategy to achieve a Net Zero economy

Next Steps

Michael Gove has recently taken on the role of Secretary of State for Levelling Up to deliver the White Paper.

ATCM will continue to work with industry and parliament to shape the outcomes of the Levelling Up agenda going forward. Many thanks to those members and partners who have provided constructive feedback so far.

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