In June 2020, the Prime Minister commissioned Danny Kruger MP - now the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities - to develop proposals to sustain the monumental community response to COVID-19 and set out how civil society can contribute to levelling up. We welcome Mr Kruger’s ‘Levelling Up Our Communities: Proposals for a New Social Covenant’ report and recommendations which provide a significant contribution to our thinking on the role of civil society in relation to levelling up. We’ve carefully considered the recommendations and we are already making progress on the majority of the 20 principal recommendations. This government response is published alongside the Levelling Up White Paper which sets out the government’s wider approach to driving levelling up.
We are grateful for the vital work of civil society in the national effort against COVID-19. We have seen the significant power of the voluntary sector in supporting people in their local communities, complementing the delivery of public services. This support from the voluntary sector has demonstrated the values of generosity, public spirit and neighbourliness through difficult times. To ensure that charities, social enterprises and other civil society organisations were able to continue their vital work during the pandemic and beyond, the government announced a £750 million package of support for Britain’s civil society sector in 2020. This package of support ensured that charities, social enterprises and other civil society organisations were able to continue their vital work during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
Mr Kruger set out his ambition that the government would facilitate an open conversation with volunteers, charities, businesses, local councils and others as we move forward. We are fully committed to open conversations with these groups to explore what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to also understand pre-existing community challenges.
The Prime Minister and I want to thank the many individuals and groups involved in the consultation process for their contributions. Mr Kruger and his team received over five hundred written submissions and conducted dozens of online conversations with the civil society sector, all of which have informed his report.
Civil society has a huge role to play in levelling up our communities. I look forward to working with charities, social enterprises, faith groups and other civil society organisations to realise this potential and identify ways to improve outcomes in deprived areas.
Nigel Huddleston MP
Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society