‘Levelling up’ and Northern Powerhouse warning to Rishi Sunak needs heeding – The Yorkshire Post says

THE Yorkshire Post continues to be perturbed by how the Northern Powerhouse, a bespoke agenda for this region and its 15.2 million people after decades of under-investment and lost potential, has morphed into a the Government’s more ambiguous ‘levelling up’ mantra.

This allows Ministers to answer every serious policy question with default answers like “levelling up” or “level up” in order to avoid scrutiny about precisely how they intend to spread investment and opportunity to areas genuinely left behind.

And this is now shared by David Kerfoot, one of this county’s most respected businessmen and the outgoing chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership which covered Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s constituency.

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In his last act before being replaced by Helen Simpson, Mr Kerfoot has written a strong column which challenges Mr Sunak to “draw upon the full power of the North to pull off the greatest economic rebound in 300 years”.

David Kerfoot is the outgoing chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
David Kerfoot is the outgoing chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

In short, the London Government needs to start respecting the North as the solution to the naton’s economic and social imbalances rather than the problem. Mr Kerfoot also warns that the so-called ‘levelling up’ agenda must not be viewed by the Chancellor as an optional extra if the North is to be Mr Sunak’s “greatest ally and asset in our national fightback”.

They are words that are so profound, and so important, that they need to be read by every Minister and MP – and then pinned to their computers and desks – because they encapsulate the untapped potential waiting to be harnessed here if the Government sticks to its original promise to power up the North, a task made even more urgent by Covid.

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Chanclelor RFishi Sunak in his Northallerton constitutency last June. Photo: James Hardisty.