Why isn’t higher education seen as playing a role in levelling up? On first reading the Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper, there appears to be a 'higher education' sized gap in the middle of its argument, between where it talks about the need for more 'skills' (without specifying the levels of study required) and where it identifies the need to grow 'research and development clusters' in left behind areas. It manages to do this without reference to where highly qualified researchers are educated and choose to live, or the relationship between where those researchers live and where hi-tech companies choose to locate.
Alongside the White Paper on Levelling Up published on 2 February, the government issued ‘pre-launch guidance’ on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, intended to replace EU funding to the regions. Details of the UK SPF have been long-awaited, and the fund is intended to be up-and-running this spring. So where do we now stand?