Whilst the words levelling up were sprinkled throughout the budget announcements further details on devolution, clusters and Local Enterprise Partnerships will have to wait until the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper expected later this year. However, the Chancellor did announce an additional £8.7bn per year to the devolved administrations through the Barnett formula, the highest annual funding settlements since devolution in 1998.
A much-needed boost to the regions’ high streets was announced through a new temporary business rates relief in England for retail, hospitality and leisure properties for 2022-23, worth almost £1.7bn. However, it’s not the fundamental reform businesses have been calling for. Over 90% of retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will receive at least 50% off their business rates bills in 2022-23. Tax reliefs for museums, galleries, theatres and orchestras will further support the cultural life of towns and cities across the UK.
The importance of community assets and spaces was also co