Government Business 28.05

Government Business 28.05

A name change for local government department

Following a cabinet reshuffle last month, the MHCLG was rebranded as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with Michael Gove at the helm.

Despite many Conservative MPs remaining unsure as to what levelling up means or looks like, the Prime Minister said that his new Secretary of State for Levelling Up will drive cross-Whitehall efforts to deliver a programme of tangible improvements in every part of the UK as we build back better from the pandemic, and deliver on the people’s priorities.

Neither Boris Johnson or Gove outlined what they felt the people’s priorities were, but the latter did describe the levelling up agenda as ‘the defining mission of this government’. On the steps of Downing Street at the end of 2019, new Prime Minister vowed to ‘fix the crisis in social care once and for all’, which goes to show that defining missions can, of course, be misleading.

A second headquarters in the city of Wolverhampton, recently unveiled, is a good starting point for shifting priorities and pledges away from Westminster and into new communities, but, as the Local Government Association said in its response to Gove’s appointment, the coronavirus crisis has emphatically shown what can be achieved when the government empowers councils to innovate and create new services locally. So, more of the same please, Mr Gove?

Michael Lyons, editor

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