News & Stories

Levelling Up – Stay local, go far

A new report from PlaceShapers and Bright Blue Intelligence demonstrates the role of housing associations in delivering levelled-up communities – and the tools they need to do so. With the much-delayed Levelling Up White Paper due shortly and a new Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, at Placeshapers we know delivering ‘levelling up’ communities is high on the political agenda. 

The research – Stay local, go far – shows how government must work more with local communities and ensure adequate investment and support is provided for truly effective place-based levelling-up. 

The government needs to work far more with local institutions, like housing associations, to deliver their levelling up ambitions, the report notes, and researchers make policy and funding recommendations for effective place-based regeneration to be achieved in four key areas: 

  • Physical regeneration – Improving housing and local physical infrastructure
  • Economic regeneration – Improving employment opportunities
  • Social regeneration – Improving civic activity and pride
  • Democratic regeneration – Improving community involvement and empowerment

Ahead of the White Paper, the report recommends: 

  • The government prioritise bids in future waves of the Levelling Up Fund which have a proactive engagement process with local communities.
  • Combined and local authorities to be granted funding and powers to lead on efforts to improve social infrastructure, working with housing associations, local businesses and wider civil society.
  • For greater certainty and opportunities for long term funding to be provided through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to enable housing associations to deliver services, such as direct employment assistance.
  • Considering the huge costs of making homes greener, the government should bring forward the £3.8 billion committed to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and go beyond the allocated £800 million for the 2022-2025 period as part of the Heat and Buildings Strategy to enable long-term certainty.
  • Homes England should enable housing associations to access funding for the improvement and replacement of existing homes, not just the building of new properties.

The research also includes PlaceShapers member case studies on how they’ve been involved in levelling-up their communities – thank you to everyone who got involved.

Matthew Walker, Chair, Placeshapers, said:

“Our mission is to put place-shaping at the heart of decision-making to improve lives and communities. So, it is unsurprising that we are fully supportive of the Government’s commitment to level up. We know that housing associations already deliver a variety of services to level-up where they have homes, however the scale of the challenge requires a different approach, where government works more with local communities and adequate investment and support is provided for truly effective levelling-up and regeneration.” 

Stay local, go far is available to read online here.

Issued: 17/01/22