The APPG for 'left behind' neighbourhoods was active between June 2020 and March 2024. This website will no longer be updated.

The four-part inquiry will assess the extent to which the government’s levelling up policy programme – as set out in the recent Levelling Up White Paper – aligns with the needs and aspirations of people living in ‘Ieft behind’ areas, and its potential to improve their prospects.

Typically located in post-industrial areas of the midlands and north of England, as well as coastal areas in the south east, the 225 neighbourhoods identified as ‘left behind’ rank within the top 10 per cent most deprived of the Index of Multiple Deprivation and the top 10 per cent of areas most in need as measured by the Community Needs Index, meaning they lack places and spaces to meet, digital connectivity and transport and an active and engaged community.

New research commissioned specifically for the APPG Inquiry from Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) maps the current performance of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods (LBNs) against the White Paper’s key levelling up priorities and medium-term missions. Today’s first inquiry session explores levelling up social outcomes, examining missions relating to education, skills, health and wellbeing.

The research found:

  • The education gap between pupils in local authority areas with LBNs when compared to the national average starts before the age of five, with fewer pupils attaining expected levels of literacy, communication and maths early learning goals. This gap consistently widens throughout primary and particularly secondary education, with poorer performance across four core subjects and Key Stage 4, and in secondary education, with only 67% of schools in local authorities with LBNs rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ compared to an average of 75% across England as a whole.
  • Additional disparities in skills levels later in life, with people living in LBNs less likely to hold Further Education and Skills qualifications than the national average. They are also less likely to have employment-based training and skills, even though the take-up of apprenticeships in local authority areas containing LBNs is higher.
  • When it comes to health, people living in LBNs can expect to experience considerably fewer years in good health, with a healthy life expectancy gap of 7.5 years between LBNs and England as a whole. There is also a higher prevalence of key health conditions includer cancer and conditions associated with cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease, COPD and strokes) in LBNs than across other deprived areas and England as a whole.

Co-chair of the APPG for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods Paul Howell MP said:

“Levelling up is the defining mission of this government. It is essential that we build a robust future for our country and to ensure that all communities – no matter where they are – have an equal chance to thrive.

In order to make this a reality, we need a better understanding of local need and to ensure that the concerns of local residents are heard by policy makers. Working at a neighbourhood level to achieve transformational change in those areas that for far too long have been ‘left behind’ will be essential to the success of levelling up. This Inquiry will play a vital role in outlining how that can happen.”

Co-chair of the APPG for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods the Rt Hon Dame Diana Johnson DBE MP said:

“Levelling up is the government’s flagship domestic policy. Despite political, economic and international pressures, it has never been more important to deliver on this agenda and improve education, skills and health and wellbeing for the residents of areas identified as ‘left behind’ in constituencies like mine of Kingston upon Hull North.

This research shows that in order to succeed, levelling up has to reach those areas with the highest levels of need. The APPG’s Inquiry will uncover what works when it comes to addressing the complex and intersecting challenges they face.”

Details of future Inquiry sessions as well as how to make a submission to the Inquiry can be found here.