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Andrew Carter: Levelling up is too big a task to be tackled by Boris Johnson's government and quick fixes won't work

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23.08.2021

Centre for Cities think-tank chief says PM is still grappling with what exactly the purpose of the levelling up agenda is.

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It has now been almost two years since the Prime Minister first introduced us to his ‘levelling up’ mission on the 2019 general election campaign trail and yet we’re still little-the-wiser about what it actually means.

Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough in Leicestershire, is leading the Government’s work developing an answer to this. He recently gave local leaders some hints on how the levelling up agenda will take shape ahead of the publication of a white paper this autumn.

He floated a mix of hard economics – the need to create more high-tech, high paying jobs – with softer political aims, such as ‘pride in place’ and developing stronger communities.

These are both noble aims in principle. However, governments can only achieve so much during their time in office and it is clear that ours is still grappling with what exactly the purpose of the levelling up agenda is.

Is it a short-term political project designed to give the 48-strong 2019 intake of Conservative MPs a positive story to tell voters at the next election? Or is it a long-term economic project intended to deliver genuine economic change for people right across the UK?

It should of course be the latter, but political reality........

© Chronicle Live


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