Evidence from the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN’s ‘Levelling Up Yorkshire and Humber’ report, produced in partnership with NHS Confederation and Yorkshire Universities as part of the YHealth for Growth campaign, has been used to inform a report by the House of Lords’ Public Services Committee on the ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Ahead of the forthcoming Government White Paper on the ‘levelling up’ strategy, the Public Services Committee sent its position paper to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson in which it calls for ‘better targeted’ plans that protects health, education and skills in more deprived areas of the country.
As part of the Committee’s evidence session earlier this year, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN CEO Richard Stubbs referred to evidence from the YHealth for Growth report that highlights how levelling up our local economies is reliant on increased investment in health and education services as well as recognising the wider social and economic determinants of health.
During the session, Richard told House of Lords peers: “Health and economy are bound tightly together. Interventions to improve growth and inclusive wellbeing are in all of our interests and it should be a shared priority and endeavour.”
The Committee has now called on the Government to work with local service providers and users to set targets to improve for example, life expectancy, employment, literacy and numeracy of children starting school and the number of entrants to higher education.
Baroness Armstrong, Committee Chair, said: “Not only places but the people who live in them should be at the heart of ‘levelling up’. Social infrastructure and support provided by public services is at least as critical to communities as investment in roads and bridges.
“Lack of funding for preventative health services, vocational education and for better literacy and numeracy among disadvantaged children has undermined the resilience of our poorest communities and further entrenched inequality.
“Successfully ‘levelling up’ will require a more holistic approach. A White Paper – which should be published urgently – is welcome but it’s unclear exactly what the government wants to level up, how much its strategy will cost, how long it will take and how it plans to achieve its goals.
“The strategy will require a major change of direction if it’s to achieve its admirable ambition for people in ‘left-behind’ areas to have the same opportunities as elsewhere in the country.”