After all, this is how Downing Street invariably chooses to communicate and Boris Johnson’s supposed flagship policy – even now – is undefined.
This is illustrated by the absence of a levelling up white paper two years after the 2019 election in spite of the Whitehall department now headed by Michael Gove being rebranded in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
In one respect, this agenda of aspiration should not require extra public funds – the challenge is spending current budgets more effectively so it galvanises private sector investment.
But what is counter-productive is the apparent rift, and briefing war, between the PM’s team and Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s confidantes at the Treasury.
After all, Mr Sunak was amongst the very first to warn in 2017 that the Northern Powerhouse needed to be “more than a slogan”. Yet, from schools catch-up funding to the downgrading of HS2 and sidelining of levelling up, he appears to be the roadblock to reform – why?
Such a tantalising question takes on greater significance as Tory MPs Kevin Hollinrake and Philip Davies, two Yorkshire backbenchers with differing outlooks on politics, call for Bradford’s exemption from Northern Powerhouse to be reconsidered.
As their interventions indicate, growing exasperation over the Government’s modus operandi is discernible as voters conclude, regretfully, that ‘levelling up’ was just an election slogan and little else. And, if this proves to be the case, the electorate won’t differentiate between the PM and Chancellor when apportioning blame. They will judge both men responsible for misleading Britain and squandering this chance to spread prosperity more equitably.
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