Government must respond to Levelling Up challenges - The Yorkshire Post says

Eyebrows will have been raised in Yorkshire on hearing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertion, at the last Conservative Party Conference, that “transport is one of the supreme leveller-uppers”.

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

It was a statement that to many in the region would seem ironic, to say the least, given the North’s creaking railways.

It is also one that is highlighted at the beginning of the latest report by the Centre for Cities, which says that the largest cities outside of London “trail far behind their Western European counterparts, and this underperformance costs the UK economy many billions of pounds each year” – but transport is only half the battle.

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The organisation says that more people living near to transport infrastructure is key to unlocking £23 billion to the economy, and planning reforms are needed in order to “make it easier to build midrise new neighbourhoods in well-connected suburbs”.

Leeds. Pic: Bruce Rollinson.

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The organisation reports that there is a productivity gap, due to weak public transport accessibility, of £5.1 billion in Leeds and Sheffield combined – a figure just shy of the £5.7 billion promised in the Budget to level up transport outside the capital.

This all presents Mr Johnson with a more complicated picture of levelling up, one which needs more than empty slogans.

Eyes will be on him and Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, to respond properly to this.