New Levelling Up Secretary announced: CCN response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2022 | 06 September 2022

Tonight Simon Clarke has been announced as the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities.

Mr Clarke had previously been Chief Secretary to the Treasury and had previously been a minister for local government.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

Cllr Tim Oliver, Chairman of the County Councils Network, said: 

“I would like to congratulate Simon Clarke on being appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities. The County Councils Network (CCN) had a strong relationship with him when he was Local Government Minister and it is clear he is someone who has a deep understanding of the sector.

“As someone who is passionate about levelling up and has been a strong advocate for devolution, we want to work with his department to ensure the continuation of the county devolution agenda. Billions worth of investment and substantive powers have been agreed in game-changing devolution deals in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire this summer and we want to work with Simon and his team to turbocharge devolution so more county areas are given the same opportunities to address our economic and productivity challenges.

“In order to achieve this, it is imperative that the devolution measures contained in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill are quickly approved through Parliament, with a firm commitment to the core principles of the devolution framework and county deals approach, which has proved such a success over the past 12 months. We also want to engage the department on planning reforms and the development of the new infrastructure levy; ensuring reforms genuinely support county and unitary authorities to deliver housing in the right places, supported by the necessary infrastructure.

“Simon was instrumental in providing local government with a significant funding boost in last year’s Spending Review, but the reality is that much of this additional resource has been swallowed by inflation, leaving vital services and infrastructure projects under pressure. Over the coming weeks we will be demonstrating the scale of the challenge facing local government which will need to be addressed later this year.”