Daily Mirror


Tories ‘shuffle the deckchairs’ with flagship Red Wall plans

- BY RACHEL WEARMOUTH Senior Political Correspond­ent rachel.wearmouth@mirror.co.uk @REWearmout­h

BORIS Johnson’s flagship levelling up plans have been dismissed as “more slogans and strategies with few new ideas”.

The Levelling Up White Paper out today vows 12 “bold” missions designed to help Red Wall areas.

One is to increase spending on research and developmen­t by at least 40% in the North, Midlands, South West, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

And it promises devolution deals and mayors for counties from Durham to Cornwall and to give a bigger role to the existing devolved administra­tions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Shadow Levelling Up Secretary, Lisa Nandy, said: “Boris Johnson’s answer to our communitie­s calling for change is to shuffle the deckchairs – new government structures, recycled pots of money and a small refund on money this Government has taken from us.

“This is not what we were promised.

“We need good jobs, decent wages, genuinely affordable housing and action to deal with the cost of living crisis. We’ve had enough slogans, it’s time to deliver.” The Institute for Fiscal Studies found that in 2019, workers in London were paid £20 per hour on average, compared to just £13 in Grimsby, Lincolnshi­re.

IFS director Paul Johnson said: “Levelling up economic outcomes must mean getting high-paid jobs more evenly spread.” Ahead of the White Paper, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “The UK has been like a jet firing on one engine. Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.”

The National Audit Office found Mr Gove’s department ignored Treasury guidance when dishing out £11billion, while corners were cut in developing a proper plan for the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund.

The Commons’ Public Accounts Committee has warned councils are at risk of going bust due to the “parlous” state of their finances.

 ?? ?? PROMISES Mr Gove

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