Beverley and Holderness MP, Graham Stuart, has moved to welcome the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper which was published yesterday (Wednesday 2nd February).

Claiming it will deliver regenerated communities, improved living standards and higher wages to his constituents, the MP has pointed to the extra powers that will be devolved to the local authorities in the East Riding and Hull as a chance for the region to have a bigger voice on the domestic and international stages.

The long-awaited white paper, which are policy documents outlining a government’s future legislation, contains 12 national ‘missions’ to be reached by 2030, including introducing 55 ‘Education Investment Areas’ to target funding into areas with the poorest outcomes, rolling out London-style transport to the rest of the country, and halving the number of poor-quality rented homes. Currently, over a third of privately rented homes in Yorkshire and the Humber are classed as ‘non-decent’, compared to 17 per cent in the South East.

Crucially, Hull and the East Riding was named as one of nine places across England invited to agree a county deal with the Government to receive more powers and funding. Current proposals would see a combined authority created without a mayor, with the Chair of the authority instead rotating between East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council. Hull and the East Riding’s inclusion as one of the first nine areas suggests this rotating model has been given assent by Ministers.

Graham said, “Yesterday’s Levelling Up White Paper sets out the promises I was elected on back in 2019, and now that we’re coming out of the other side of the pandemic with the fastest growing economy in the G7, higher wages, and employment higher than pre-pandemic levels, it’s time to deliver on those promises.

“A crucial part of this is getting more powers for our area so that we can work together better on major issues like improving transport and skills as well as delivering more well-paid jobs. I know some have reservations about the East Riding being amalgamated into Hull, but a new combined authority would work alongside the two existing councils, with their separate structures staying as they are now.”

The ‘Levelling Up’ plan also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to implementing a Humber Freeport as well as developing proposals for the East Coast Cluster and providing £33 million for the Humber’s Zero Carbon Initiative.

Graham added, “Decarbonising the Humber is a key part of delivering for our area. It’s currently the most carbon-intensive industrial cluster in the country, but instead of being left behind as the UK goes green, we can reposition it to be at the forefront of cutting-edge, clean technology.

“This could potentially get rid of around half of the UK’s industrial emissions, protect existing jobs, and create tens of thousands of new roles.”

Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, commented: “The UK is an unparalleled success story. We have one of the world’s biggest and most dynamic economies. Ours is the world’s most spoken language. We have produced more Nobel Prize winners than any country other than America.

“But not everyone shares equally in the UK’s success. For decades, too many communities have been overlooked and undervalued. Levelling Up and this white paper is about ending this historic injustice.”