Dear Prime Minister
I have pleasure in sending you a series of proposals to sustain the community spirit we have seen during the coronavirus pandemic.
As I set out in the first section of my report, we are on the cusp of a new era of economic and social policy. The era just ending was governed by economic and social doctrines which have caused us to become the most regionally unequal country in the developed world, with a range of chronic social challenges. The era now opening must address these challenges by putting communities at the heart of policy making.
The experience of the recent crisis - the willingness of local people to step forward and collaborate, the flexibility shown by public services and the social commitment of businesses - shows what is possible. Add the extraordinary new dynamics of data and digital innovation, and a wholly new paradigm is possible in which community power replaces the dominance of remote public and private sector bureaucracies.
The rest of the report sets out a series of recommendations to take us towards this vision. I hope they will help begin a discussion both in government but also, crucially, in civil society itself about the way forward.
‘The process you use to get to the future is the future you get’. This dictum has been repeated to me a number of times during my conversations about this report. We want a more plural, local, bottom-up system, and this vision should influence the way we proceed. In keeping with the doctrine of community power, therefore, I hope government will undertake a process of engagement - an open conversation - with the millions of people who have volunteered through the recent crisis, with charities and businesses, with local councils and public services. We should act speedily, but collaboratively, to put communities at the centre of the national recovery and the great mission of levelling up our country.
1) Levelling Up the United Kingdom
2) Government Response to Danny Kruger MP's Report: 'Levelling Up Our Communities: Proposals for a New Social Covenant'
3) Youth Review: Summary findings and government response