Shropshire Star

'We're Tippexing levelling out from Wolverhampton-based government department,' declares Labour

The words "levelling up" have been "firmly Tippexed out" of the Wolverhampton-based government department responsible for housing and communities, Labour has said.

The government department in Wolverhampton is dropping the term 'levelling up'

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) was given that name by Boris Johnson in 2021 as the then-prime minister sought to highlight his commitment to the "levelling up" agenda to help regions away from London, including the West Midlands.

The department was set up in the i9 building close to Wolverhampton's railway station in September 2001, with around 500 staff working there.

It was part of a drive by the Conservative government to be seen to spreading its work outside London, all part of its levelling up strategy.

Former Tory Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick in Wolverhampton for the official opening of the new MCHLG office at the i9 building in 2021

But with a change of government has come another change of name, with the department reverting to its identity as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Angela Rayner, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State in charge of the department, said: "A Government of public service means fixing the fundamentals to deliver for the British people.

"No more gimmicks and slogans, but the hard yards of governing in the national interest."

Jim McMahon, a minister in the department, said the old name had been "firmly Tippexed out of the department yesterday" as part of an effort to "refocus" on local government.

He added: "Why that is important for me is levelling up was only ever a slogan, it wasn't a thing that people felt in their communities."

The change is the fourth in the department's history, having started as the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2001, before becoming the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2006, MHCLG in 2018, DLUHC in 2021 and now MHCLG once again.

Cutting the ribbon on the Wolverhampton department in 2021

Before the election, Labour figures had suggested the party would ditch the "levelling up" title if it won power, with Ms Rayner telling the Financial Times she was focused on "fundamentals" and not "a slogan".

While the department has its Wolverhampton office, we are unlikely to see Ms Rayner reclocating to our region. She is set to base herself at its central London offices in Marshsm Street.

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