Rebalancing Northern Places

The Levelling Up White Paper set out twelve missions in support of key levelling up objectives. These outline the medium-term ambition for the Government. For the housing sector the role that housing plays in contributing positively to Levelling Up has been recognised, not just in new supply linked to job creation and growth, but also as a key part of regeneration and targeted levels of decency in rented housing.

Beyond the missions around home ownership, and decent standards, the housing sector connects to important economic and social impacts for its residents, communities. These impacts are multi-dimensional, measurable and can contribute to the wider Levelling Up ambitions.

A ‘left-behind’ area, in need of ‘levelling up’, is characterised by broad economic underperformance, which manifests itself in low pay and employment, leading to lower living standards in that area. The health of the local residents may also be relatively poor.  These characteristics are frequently the places that social housing providers are working in with over half of the most deprived 10% of local authorities located in the North.

Social housing providers are already providing services which rebalance communities in these key areas of inequity.  We have mapped member organisation activity against the levelling-up missions ensuring our member contributions are recognised, particularly in the area of employment and health.

Our report sets out detail on each levelling up mission explaining current activity in support of levelling up. Case studies offer an important insight into the activities of housing providers and demonstrate the variety of activities and the added value this provides for local communities.

Our aim is to build an understanding of the contribution social housing providers can make to the rebalancing agenda and making sure that the great work of our members is recognised.

We also discussed the relevance of the levelling up missions at our Levelling Up Conference: Housing at the Heart of a Rebalanced Country which took place on 14th July in Leeds where we brought together key stakeholders to define the debate on how best to achieve place-based regeneration.

Housing associations work across communities, including the most deprived neighbourhoods.  As organisations with a strong social purpose they do this because it is the right thing to do as well as making solid business sense to do it. As our report and the case studies show, the housing sector is already delivering positive work. By progressing this work across the Levelling Up missions social housing providers can maximise their impact in places.

Read the full policy brief here.