Voters In North And Midlands Prioritise Law And Order In Levelling Up Survey

11 October 2021

New research has been commissioned to better understand the views of voters in the North and Midlands in areas where levelling up plans are focused.

DWF, the global provider of integrated legal and business services, commissioned the YouGov survey of just over 1,000 adults in ‘levelling up areas’ across the North and Midlands to find out what they might want to see as a result of this major Government policy, which is geared towards ensuring economic success and opportunity is more evenly shared across the country. 

When asked how clear they were about what politicians mean by levelling up, only 29% said the message was clear, while 58% were still unclear. Yet when asked how they would define levelling up, there appeared to be some level of understanding with 30% of respondents saying it is about making sure people in the North and Midlands have the same opportunities as those in the South East. However, 28% said that levelling up doesn’t mean anything at all. 

As part of the levelling up agenda, respondents prioritised the top three measures they felt would improve local areas and reinstate pride. More than half (52%) cited public safety and anti-crime measures, followed by more job opportunities (41%) and enhancements to town centre environments (30%).

Job security is a major issue. Almost two-thirds (62%) said it was difficult for young people to secure jobs in their local area – and 70% said it was difficult to find ‘good quality’ roles close to home. 

Local transport has a major role to play in supporting levelling up. Better links to schools, shops and their place of work were important for 29% of respondents, closely followed by better links to the nearest town or city centre (28%). Connectivity between the North and Midlands and other parts of the UK was only important for 23% of respondents. 

Jonathan Branton, partner and head of Public Sector at DWF, said: “The Government has brought a new team and even a new name to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which has given the policy greater focus than ever before.  

“While there is still some confusion over what the term actually means, this research shows there is real support for change and people in the North and Midlands are clear about what their priorities are: including enhancing their local areas by improving safety is high on the agenda, creating more skilled job opportunities closer to home, more local decision making and all underpinned by a greater focus on enhancing local transport links. 

“Our research can help to inform decision makers at all levels of government to make the right decisions about how best to deliver the practical improvements on the ground that meets the aspirations of those who will most benefit from it.”

DWF’s report, ‘Will levelling up meet voter priorities’ will include more analysis of the YouGov research, and can be downloaded now.