Rishi Sunak told Parliament “now we must deliver”. I couldn’t agree more.
Two and a half years since the Prime Minister promised to level up our country, we’ve grown tired of waiting.
And sadly, despite all the bluster, what we heard today falls some way short of their promises.
There was nothing on HS2 East, and nothing on Northern Powerhouse Rail, with that crucial stop in Bradford.
Both of which are vital to improve connections between the great cities of the North and Midlands.
We’re told they are coming soon but the watered-down versions that are rumoured will not level up our side of the Pennines.
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The £830m we’ve got for local transport improvements in West Yorkshire will allow us to start to deliver a London style transport network.
But only about half of this is new money and we’ll be spending millions fixing potholes that have cracked open after a decade of Tory austerity.
Levelling up cannot just be about transport improvements.
We need to invest in people, boosting skills and opportunities to ensure that everyone in our communities can thrive.
Image:Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
The adult education budget is about half the size of what they were in 2010.
The Chancellor hasn’t come close to replacing what’s been lost and restrictive national programmes don’t provide the flexibility that local employers and learners need.
The Climate Emergency is the challenge of our age and is directly linked to levelling up, yet the Chancellor didn’t reference it once.
We need to invest now to move our economy towards Net Zero, supporting business, homes, and communities to make the transition.
This continued delay will only make the bill bigger and our task harder in future.
Levelling up needs government and regional leaders to work in partnership. But this desire didn’t come across at the despatch box.
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