Last week, the Pro Bono Economics team hosted a lunchtime discussion about the deliverables of the Levelling Up proposal. The panel discussed how the government can ensure the Levelling Up agenda makes the most difference to people’s lives, and the role civil society has to play in that. As part of strengthening the VCSE sector , we need to prove its value to civic society. In this article, we look at the best ways to maximise our role.

Speaking at the discussion were:

  • Lord Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary
  • The Rt Hon Justine Greening, former Secretary of State for Education and Chair of the Levelling Up Goals
  • Kamran Rashid, CEO and Founder of the Bradford Impact Hub
  • Madison Kerr, Economist at Pro Bono Economics

What is Levelling Up?

Firstly, Levelling Up is a report written by Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes. Kruger wrote the report in response to a request from the Prime Minister. His brief was to consider ways of sustaining the community spirit we saw during lockdown. Following consultations with the community, the report reflects a ‘bottom up’ approach. Secondly, Levelling Up has become a slogan to describe a movement.

What is missing?

Currently, the key indicators in the report focus on physical infrastructure. The measures are economic measures. Most importantly, Madison Kerr and Justine Greening commented on the lack of wellbeing measures. However, we can work together on improving this. If we demonstrate the value of social relationships, we can improve lives.

We need equality of opportunity. We need residents to feel ownership over their own future.

How is Cornwall doing?

Different places face different challenges. This local knowledge allows us to help identify how we can improve equality in Cornwall.

Madison Kerr suggested that place based happiness is linked to the VCSE sector. We have an above average number of VCSE organisations in Cornwall. Over 25% of us volunteers. This means we are well positioned to support people. Cornwall does not have a high GDP score. However, our residents can benefit from the collective kindness and benevolence of the VCSE sector.

Co-creation is a vital part of supporting communities to support themselves. Co-creating Cornwall’s Future event is your chance to contribute.

In conclusion, people are happier when we have a say in our future.