HS2 test for Michael Gove and levelling up – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is a significant statement of intent by the Government that Michael Gove’s new-look ministry has been renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities so soon after last week’s far-reaching Cabinet reshuffle.

Michael Gove is the new Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

This will, finally, make it easier for Parliament to scrutinise leaders like Mr Gove or Boris Johnson’s levelling up guru Neil O’Brien, from Huddersfield, who has been handed a junior role in the reconfigured department.

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This was Boris Johnson's new-look Cabinet meeting for the first time last Friday with Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, sat directly opposite the Prime Minister.

It is also encouraging that a self-made individual as gifted as Guiseley-born Andy Haldane has agreed to head up a new task force on the Government’s flagship policy after serving as the Bank of England’s chief economist.

Now the onus is on Mr Gove and his team to set out, and implement, a set of aspirational policies that change lives for the better across the North – and all those parts of the country left behind by previous governments.

And it also means Mr Gove, as the PM’s chief political fixer, ensuring that there’s far more joined-up decision-making as many of the region’s political and transport leaders prepare to gather in Leeds today.

Though it is important to remember that levelling up extends far beyond new infrastructure, this region will struggle to fulfil its vast economic potential if it does not have a better rail and transport network.

Former Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane is to head a new levelling up task force. He comes from Guiseley.

As such, Tracy Brabin, the new mayor of West Yorkshire, is right to highlight the national importance of the eastern leg of HS2 and its urgency at a time when the rail network in Leeds is already operating at capacity.

Given how Andrew Stephenson, who has been reappointed as HS2 Minister, cannot now bring himself to mention the word Leeds as speculation persists about the future of high-speed rail here, this is an early opportunity for Mr Gove to prove himself as a politician who can truly power up the North after years of procrastination.

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