‘Levelling up’ met with widespread scepticism across England, survey study suggests

Hastings, UK  Credit: Kai Bossom via Unsplash

Researchers say Tories are “right to be worried” about parts of the Home Counties due to fears over the meaning of levelling up. The study also investigates national identity, finding some attitudes run counter to ‘Little Englander’ labels.

More than half of people across England (53%) think the government’s ‘levelling up’ strategy will either make no difference locally or result in less money for their area, according to a new survey study conducted by the University of Cambridge and YouGov. 

While more than two-thirds of English people (68%) are behind the idea of reducing regional inequalities, believing it should be a “high or medium priority” for the government, one in two respondents across England suspect that levelling up will either not affect their local economy or actively harm it.

The research suggests major regional splits. Almost half (47%) of people in London and the South East think ‘levelling up’ will mean less government investment in their area, and only 18% think it should be one of government’s top four priorities.

However, in the Midlands and the North – regions with more post-industrial areas that could benefit from this policy programme – support for ‘levelling up’ is much higher, but not overwhelming: 40% think it should be a high priority, and 41% believe their local area will see more money as a result.

The research, conducted in May of this year and published by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy and YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research, also gathered data on national identity along with English attitudes to Brexit and Scottish independence.

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Image: Hastings, UK

Credit: Kai Bossom via Unsplash

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge


The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

University of Cambridge (cam.ac.uk)