Levelling up for people and equalities

Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 - 10:30 to 12:00

Join the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North to discuss how to progress the levelling up agenda in a way that works for people at their latest webinar. 

The UK entered the Covid-19 pandemic with deep, growing divides between and within our regions. In fact, the crisis has made the challenge of reducing regional and other inequalities even greater- and more urgent- than before.  

IPPR North research shows that the opportunity to live a good life is becoming increasingly unattainable for too many people in regions like the North of England. In October 2020, 657,900 people claimed unemployment-related benefits in the North- a level not seen since 1994. Wages are lower, and job opportunities are fewer in the North, while 40 percent of women are paid less than the real living wage. Healthy life expectancy falls below the English average in most Northern areas and people don’t have faith in our democracy to make a change. 

Alongside this, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report found that the negative impact of the pandemic has been more severe for some groups than others. Ethnic minorities and disabled people have faced a double whammy of being more likely to die from the virus while also being more likely to experience financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. There is also a real danger of a lost ‘Covid generation’ as young people miss out on education and are likely to be hardest hit by job losses.

Delivery of the government’s promise to ‘level up’ has never been more needed for the social and economic wellbeing of the nation, as well as for people disproportionately affected by the pandemic including children and adults living in poverty, women, people with disabilities and ethnic minority groups. 

As we continue to live through and seek to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and as we look to plan for recovery, there is a need to ask key questions like “who benefits?” from policy decisions, “how do we measure progress on ‘levelling up’” and “what are the benefits of focusing on equalities”? 

This discussion will be vital following the March 2020 Budget, and ahead of the publication of key proposals such as the government’s long-awaited Devolution and Recovery White Paper. 


  • Imran Ahmad Khan MP (invited)
  • Mayor Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Combined Authority
  • Jo Lappin, CEO Cumbria LEP
  • Caroline Waters OBE, Deputy Chair, EHRC
  • Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North
  • Chair: Sinead Rocks, Managing Director for Nations & Regions, Channel 4

Register your free place on Eventbrite.


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