Government announces levelling up plan
2 February 2022
Simon Goldie, Director of Business Finance and Advocacy
The Government’s long-awaited ‘levelling up’ plan has now been announced. It has received widespread coverage and as one would expect praise and criticism in equal measure. The White Paper boldly states that this will be a complete system change in how government works. As well as the deployment of taxpayer money to address regional disparities, the White Paper commits the Government to the transfer of power from Westminster to local areas. The timescales set out in the paper are long-term with many of the objectives looking towards 2030, so go beyond the current Parliament.
If the Government can increase productivity, employment and pay, this should stimulate economic growth, boost small and medium-sized businesses and lead to greater investment which in turn should lead to more productivity, employment and higher pay. The Government plans to achieve this with various measures intended to increase research and development funding and public sector spending outside London and the Southeast. They will also create “innovation accelerators” in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, and Glasgow, which will see funding targeted to support growth.
The Government has also stated they wish to see better local public transport and connectivity, with an aspiration that public transport outside the capital should become “much closer to London standards” and 5G broadband made available to the “large majority” of the country. This should enable businesses to do more in terms of accessing potential staff and reaching customers.
The Finance & Leasing Association’s (FLA) members who provide asset finance (leasing or hire purchase) have always served all parts of the United Kingdom so that businesses can acquire the assets they need to grow. Asset finance funders will continue to do so. They will also be ready to provide finance to local authorities in support of public transport and work on net zero solutions, as they are already doing with Bath & Northeast Somerset and Greater Manchester councils.
Over the last few years, we have been engaging with existing infrastructure to support local economic growth, including working with local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Growth Hubs and the British Business Bank’s regional representatives to ensure that business is aware of asset finance. We will continue these partnerships and seek out new ones because we know that asset finance is vital for businesses wherever they are in the country. As part of this, we will be holding a series of regional receptions during the year where our members will have the chance to meet local officials and business representatives.
Published 02 Feb 2022