Northern leaders urge action on ‘levelling up’

In a call with other northern leaders, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has set out a clear agenda of proposals critical to deliver the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. Tony McDonough reports

Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

A group of northern England leaders, including Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, have set out their own ‘levelling up’ agenda in a message to Government.

And Mr Rotheram is inviting Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, to attend an event in Liverpool in January to agree a way forward to tackle the “structural inequalities” between north and south.

On Thursday, a document published by the Convention of the North and the NP11 group of northern local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), northern leaders set out the five “game-changers” which say say are critical to an inclusive economy that doesn’t leave the north behind. They are:

  • Leading a green industrial revolution.
  • Closing the healthy life expectancy gap between the north and south through innovation.
  • Closing the education and skills gap.
  • Improving connectivity in towns and cities in the north.
  • Increasing private and public investment in R&D spending in the north.

They represent a combined northern offer to Government to ensure the north plays its full part in levelling up the UK, leading the transition to a net zero economy and developing a “competitive global Britain”.

Leaders have invited Mr Gove, to join them for a working convention in Liverpool in January 2022, focused on turning the Government’s positive commitment to level up the north into action.

Mr Rotheram said: “True levelling up has to mean tackling long-standing and structural inequalities that exist between north and south in this country on a wide range of issues, from healthcare and job prospects, to transport and infrastructure spending.

“This is not an issue of party politics but one of fairness and social justice. As leaders representing millions of people across the north, we want to work with the Government to make that a reality.

“The north has been hit harder than the rest of the country, but I believe that with proper support we also have the potential to bounce back further and faster than the rest of the country too.

“From levelling up to climate change and everything in between, the solutions to many of the fundamental issues facing the country lie in empowering local leaders to work with central government and take the decisions that our areas need to shape our own destinies and build a stronger, fairer, better balanced UK.”

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