This report argues that the public must be put at the heart of levelling up. Our research finds that the public wants to be involved in decisions about levelling up. Nearly eight in ten – 77% of the general public and 79% of the former red wall – think that local people should be involved in decisions about how government money is used in their local area.
This preference is so strong that the public prioritise local control over funding. The public are more than twice as likely to want less money for their local area and more say for local people over how it is spent (55% of general public and 53% of former red wall), compared to more money and less say (21% of general public and 23% of former red wall).
If levelling up is to be seen as legitimate by those it is trying to help, it must meaningfully involve the public in decisions about how money is spent.
The report also finds that that the public, including in the former red wall, is divided on what levelling up should look like, and people do not have high hopes for their local area.