EMMA LEWELL-BUCK: This Prime Minister’s legacy will be one of deep inequality
Time and time again, the Prime Minister and his Government have been unable to explain what levelling up means, that is because it is just another empty vacuous phrase, like the Northern Powerhouse before it.
It is not a genuine attempt to improve communities across the country it is simply a political strategy that pits areas against each other for small pots of funding creating a piecemeal and unequal recovery.
This Government ripped up their own Industrial Strategy, scrapped deprivation measures in the methodology for awarding levelling up funds and are refusing to publish the criteria used to award the funds. That is because almost 90% of the levelling up, towns and community renewal funds have gone to areas with a Tory MP.
Everything this Government does is the opposite of levelling up, just this week millions of people will see a dramatic cut to their incomes when the Universal Credit uplift is removed, at the same time as a hike in gas bills and increased taxation. Even pre pandemic, foodbanks were struggling to meet the demand, with an estimated 14 million people living in poverty, just over 4 million are children and over one million are pensioners. Deliberately creating policies that push people into poverty is what Tory Governments always do, this one is no different, far from levelling up this Prime Ministers legacy will be one of deep inequality.
The last Labour Governments legacy is one of reduced hospital lists, more doctors and nurses, GCSE results up, a decrease in child and pensioner poverty, rough sleeping reduced by 75%, employment at its highest level ever, reduced levels of crime, free nursery places for all 3- and 4-year-olds and so much more. Indeed, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said that no other nation had a bigger rise in social mobility than Britain throughout the years Labour was in power, that is true levelling up.
The only reason this Government need to use slogans like left behind neighbourhoods and levelling up is because over the last decade they have left those neighbourhoods behind and they have levelled down.