Boris Johnson has been told to introduce a "level back" fund for the north to cover the cost of a decade of austerity cuts.

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the measure should form part of Rishi Sunak's autumn Budget on Wednesday.

Mr McDonnell told ChronicleLive that the Chancellor could deliver cash to hard-pressed northern communities through a Barnett formula, similar to that used in Scotland.

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The formula ensures that any extra spending in England is reflected in devolved budgets, so if the healthcare budget in England were to increase by £100m, the Scottish Government’s budget would increase by £9.7m since Scotland’s population is 9.7% of England’s.

Mr McDonnell said: “Before any more talk from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak about levelling up, they need to start levelling back the huge £100bn of cuts inflicted on councils by the Tories over the last 10 years and from here on the Tories must be legally bound to spread capital investment fairly across the country.

Mr McDonnell's call came as new research found that to level up every UK nation and region to London’s level of funding would require an additional £30bn in annual capital investment.

Local authorities in the North East are receiving £496m less per year in 2021/22 in central Government funding than they did in 2015/16 – a 34.7% cut.

“Capital spending must be guaranteed to spread more fairly and evenly, in the way the Barnett Formula distributes funding for the devolved governments,” Mr McDonnell said.

He added: "For too long Westminster politicians have promised a lot to the north but delivered little.

"A Barnett formula for the north would force them to deliver a fair deal and would protect future investment levels.

"No longer would regions outside of London be reliant on the whims and publicity stunts of ministers in Whitehall.”

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North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll backed Mr McDonnell's call, he said: "Underinvesting in the north damages the whole of Britain.

"As a country we need to close the gap between investment in the north and the rest of England.

"That means restoring the funding that has been taken away from the north over the last decade.

"And it means devolving the financial powers to local leaders so we can develop strong, sustainable economies."

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