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


The All-Party Parliamentary Group for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods is, by its very nature, a demonstration of the cross-party importance of the project to address place-based inequality in England. This is not an agenda that will ever be fully ‘owned’ by any one political party. The terminology may change, and the policies and funding programmes themselves may shift, but the need to rebalance the opportunities and outcomes available to communities in this country – especially for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods – should transcend electoral politics. Cross-party support for the introduction of the Community Wealth Fund as a new beneficiary of dormant assets funding reinforces this.

What has persisted over time, however, is a failure to grasp that sustainable ways of transforming these neighbourhoods must be led by communities themselves, incorporating their unique and lived experience. This is the only demonstrable way of ensuring that local people have a stake and a sense of ownership in what is happening to their neighbourhood. It is also the only way to make best use of the latent expertise and potential that is present in every ‘left behind’ neighbourhood across the country.

The Big Local programme is one example of how things can change for the better. This programme has shown us that when ‘left behind’ communities get the support they need, they can contribute meaningfully to the services and networks that make neighbourhoods better places to live. Even with relatively small budgets, over time these communities can grow in confidence and ability, and then go on to develop new resources and skills to benefit their areas. These are test-cases in locally-led regeneration.

Unlocking this potential could transform the wider drive for greater economic productivity and reduce demand on public services. However, given current trends, it is just as likely that without a change in policy,‘left behind’ neighbourhoods will slide further back.

This report has set out ideas to realise a better future for ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods: real levelling up, gathered from the perspectives of communities living in these places and the plethora of insight and evidence yielded by the APPG’s inquiry.

The decisions we make now will have a definitive impact upon which future the residents of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods can expect to see play out over the coming years. These places can become a cornerstone of our national recovery from a decade of challenges, and a new source of resilience, as the combined efforts of communities, third sector organisations, and an empowered and highly collaborative local public sector work together to plan for the even greater challenges ahead. Alternatively, they can continue to be a place where human flourishing is limited and potential is squandered.

The next few moves will be decisive.