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Levelling up or widening the gap?

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Levelling up or widening the gap?

There are deep-rooted regional inequalities in health and wealth across England. ‘Levelling Up’ is the UK Government’s flagship policy to redress these inequalities through additional investment, with the Community Renewal Fund (CRF) one strand of this funding.


In this Policy@Manchester blog, Christine Camacho (ARC-GM PhD student and Public Health Registrar) and Dr Luke Munford (ARC-GM Deputy Lead for Economic Sustainability and Health Economist from the University of Manchester) examine the allocation of the first round of the CRF across English regions, and whether more economically deprived regions are getting a proportionate share of the pot.


  • Based on an economic resilience index, Northern regions received £21 million less than their expected share of the first round of the CRF.
  • Nationally, there was no significant correlation between regional economic resilience and funding allocations.
  • As such, the current allocation method may widen, rather than reduce, regional disparities – and jeopardise the levelling up agenda.


People living in the North of England have an average life expectancy 2 years lower than the rest of the country, and a £4 per-person-per-hour gap in economic productivity. These inequalities are persistent and have widened during recent decades. Existing geographical divides were exacerbated by austerity, and feelings of being ‘left behind’ are considered to have contributed to a reshaping of the UK’s political landscape, including spurring the Conservative Party to propose a regional development policy of ‘Levelling Up’ as a centrepiece of their successful 2019 election manifesto...


You can read the fhe full blog from the Policy@Manchester website here.

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