‘Levelling up is not planting flowerbeds in North’ as George Osborne warns Boris Johnson – The Yorkshire Post says

GEORGE Osborne’s warning to Boris Johnson – and the rest of the London Government – that the levelling up agenda requires “proper intellectual underpinning” is profound and prescient.

George Osborne instigated the Northern Powerhouse when Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“If you think it’s all just about planting some civic flowerbeds in northern towns then the Tories will be out on their ear,” warns the former Chancellor who first instigated the Northern Powerhouse.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Yet, while Mr Osborne’s criticism of Theresa May’s government, and its ambivalence, is more than justified – “she was not interested in it and basically ditched it” – his confidence in the current PM, and the capabilities of the key players, does appear to be on the over-optimistic side.

Former premier Theresa May has been accused of sidelining the Northern Powerhouse by George Osborne.

Not only is there still no clearcut definition of levelling up, one reason why the long-awaited white paper has still to be published two years after Mr Johnson won the 2019 election, but decision-making lacks coherence and Ministers only want devolution on their terms – the precise opposite of Mr Osborne’s approach.

But what the continuing furore over the scrapping of the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds, and downgrading of Northern Powerhouse Rail across the Pennines, reveals is a glaring political failure – namely the inability of the main parties to build a consensus so that long-term economics takes precedence over short-term politics when it comes to major infrastructure projects in the national interest. And while The Yorkshire Post, for one, shares Mr Osborne’s hope that the Government revisits both HS2 and NPR, there’s every liklelihood that party politics will actually prevent this and leave the North out in the cold. Again.

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app, receive exclusive members-only offers and access to all premium content and columns. Click here to subscribe.

Boris Johnson's commitment to levelling up continues to be called into question.