Rural Yorkshire an afterthought in Whitehall levelling up plans - The Yorkshire Post says

The Yorkshire Post’s special report today exposes how the potential of the rural economy can be considered an afterthought in the Government’s flagship policy to tackle regional inequalities.

Picture: Tony Johnson.
Picture: Tony Johnson.

Ministers have been warned that they risk alienating the nation’s countryside communities amid accusations that they have failed to recognise the multi-billion-pound possibilities of the industry.

There was a way to avoid this kind of conflict, one which this newspaper repeatedly wrote in favour of when the debate about devolution started to really gather pace: One Yorkshire.

Devolving decisions and spending power under the banner of one mayor’s leadership could have presented us with an economic plan that had the interests of the region’s rural expanses at its heart as much as that of our towns and cities. It just so happens that Lord Sentamu, the former Archbishop of York, this week asked Lord Greenhalgh, Minister of State at the

Department for Levelling Up, for his thoughts on One Yorkshire during a debate in the House of Lords. His response: “I am not sure that creating a humongous entity called ‘One Yorkshire’ will necessarily accelerate the levelling up. Maybe it will ensure the independence of Yorkshire from the rest of the country, but I am not sure that it will help us in any way.”

That may not help from the view from Whitehall, Lord Greenhalgh, but there remains a case to say that when people in the North are increasingly viewing the Government’s levelling up agenda with weary cynicism, it would help us.

Properly implemented, it could be a transformative boost for those pulling up their sleeves and wellington boots to work the fields or tend to livestock, dealing as they are with multiple pressures on their livelihoods. Levelling up must be for all of the North, the countryside included, not just where the skyscrapers soar.