Peers urge government to involve charities in ‘levelling up’ decisions

A House of Lords committee is urging the government to ensure that charities are consulted on how ‘levelling up’ investment is spent.

They say charities are vital to ensuring the most vulnerable people in society and marginalised groups do not miss out on levelling up funding, which is aimed at improving life chances UK wide.

The findings have emerged in a report published today (May 20) by the House of Lords Public Services Committee on the government’s levelling up agenda.

This cites evidence to peers from Stephen Bubb, acting director of the Oxford Institute of Charity, who said that excluding charities from the levelling up strategy “risked hard to reach communities missing out”.

He added that charities reach “into particularly marginalised vulnerable communities…in a way a local authority or other organisations cannot”.

It also details evidence from Pro Bono Economics chief executive Matt Whittaker that charities had not been involved in designing funding already announced around the agenda.

This includes the Shared Prosperity Fund, Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund.

The committees report recommends that consultation around the agenda “should involve civil society organisations in the design, delivery and evaluation of ‘levelling up’funds.

“It should work with the local voluntary sector to consult marginalised groups on how ‘levelling up’ money should be spent in their areas.”

The government announced plans to publish a ‘levelling up’ White Paper “later this year earlier this month. The Queen’s Speech then outlined plans to introduce laws to “level up” the UK.

In March, New Philanthropy Capital warned that charities are “unlikely to receive much levelling up finding” and should brace themselves for having a limited say in how money is being spent.

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