Boris Johnson’s levelling up vacuum confirmed by social mobility report – The Yorkshire Post says

BORIS Johnson’s speech on levelling up last week looks even more of a missed opportunity in the wake of the Social Mobility Commission’s ‘state of the nation’ report.

This was Boris Johnson delivering his levelling up speech last week.
This was Boris Johnson delivering his levelling up speech last week.

Perhaps the Prime Minister chose to jump the gun, and hope that his rhetoric could mask the absence of policy, in order to avoid being embarrassed by the Commission so soon after Sir Kevan Collins quit as schools catch-up tsar.

Set up in 2016, the Commission is, in fact, a statutory body tasked with overseeing the regional inequalities that prompted the launch of the Northern Powerhouse before it was superseded by the more opaque levelling up agenda.

Its work should be integral to Mr Johnson’s flagship domestic policy – and many of its recommendations, from welfare reform to extra funding for schools and skills, are driven by the very best of intentions.

Gavin Williamson has been Education Secretary for two years.

However this public body appears none the wiser about the PM’s intentions – significantly, one of its calls is for the creation of special benchmarks to measure policy progress over the next 30 years.

This is a critical point that has been repeatedly made by The Yorkshire Post in recent months – ‘levelling up’ will only succeed if there’s a clear definition and set of objectives.

The fact that Mr Johnson told his audience last week to send their ideas to his office, or policy advisor Neil O’Brien, confirmed that the current approach is still incoherent.

And until there’s an Education Secretary in place who recognises the importance of schools and learning to economic policy, then progress on social mobility will continue to flounder.

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