Cynical con of levelling up rhetoric, as millions live in poverty
Levelling up is a cynical con played by the Tories to disguise what they’re really doing to our country, and in particular to the North.
Working communities, like ours in Hemsworth, are really struggling.
The unequal economic system this government has created has completely failed them.
In a single decade, the Tories have cut £540 billion from public expenditure.
That means money for schools, hospitals, housing, roads, transport and much more – taken off councils in the name of austerity and to centralise funding in order to dictate to them how much they can spend and what on.
Ministers then tried to make a virtue of announcing a mere £4.8 billion for ‘levelling up’.
But by March they had barely spent £500 million of it.
Meanwhile, some 15 million people in this country – still one of the wealthiest on this planet – are living in poverty.
Yet the richest 50 families in the UK have more wealth than the poorest half of the rest of the population.
I challenged the levelling up minister Dehenna Davison directly on this in the House of Commons this week.
I said that we need an end to this government and to the whole rotten economic system they’ve created, in order to level up properly.
Not surprisingly, she didn’t agree.
She claimed instead that the only way to make sure levelling up “remains at the heart of government” is to vote Conservative.
More empty rhetoric. It’s a disgrace.
Davison’s boss Michael Gove won’t even name the local authorities invited to be a part of a pilot he’s announced that is intended to simplify the various levelling up funds and give councils more say in how their money is spent.
It’s clear that on levelling up, this government is fiddling, while Rome burns.
Gove is doing the same with his much-lauded pledge to stop no fault evictions.
Every month that he doesn’t bring in his promised Renters’ Reform Bill to parliament, which would ban the Section 21 notices that have seen so many households turfed out of their homes, there are thousands more families facing homelessness.
At least 2,000 were evicted in May alone by rapacious landlords – an increase of 25 per cent on the previous month.
But, while dragging his heels on the Bill, Gove has been having a series of cosy meetings with landlords’ associations, who obviously oppose the Bill because it will make it more difficult to get tenants out of their properties.
Landlords have now confidently predicted that it won’t make it into law for 18 months, because of the delay in putting it before MPs. That’s after the next general election.
When it comes to private landlords and tenants, there is little doubt about who’s side Gove is on.
So I asked the Secretary of State in the House of Commons if he would at least pledge to bring in his Bill this September, to give it a chance of getting on the statute book before then.
Guess what? He declined to comment.
This article was first published in the Wakefield Express