It was so pronounced that Boris Johnson put the issue at the forefront of his election manifesto last year when the Tories captured once impregnable ‘red wall’ seats across the North.
Now the reopening of all schools next month, coinciding with the start of a new academic year, provides a timely opportunity for the Government to advance and accelerate its so-called ‘levelling up’ agenda.
But this requires the Department for Education making a far greater commitment – both in financial and policy terms – after Lord Jim O’Neill, a founding father of the Northern Powerhouse, criticised its indifference and record in The Yorkshire Post last Saturday.
And this newspaper still maintains that the entire Northern Powerhouse project requires a Cabinet-level big-hitter, and their key staff, being a based in this region, and galvanising the public and private sector, rather than being an addendum to the transport brief held by Grant Shapps.
Yet, while Mr Shapps is, in fairness, a strong advocate for the North, he has become understandably preoccupied by Covid-19 and, therefore, has insufficient time, for example, to ensure that the DfE is putting bespoke measures in place that will help disadvantaged youngsters here to begin to realise their potential.
Like the decision taken by previous governments to invest in London’s schools because they were under-performing, this is a one-off chance to ensure that every child receives the best possible start to life – a world-class education. It is also an opportunity that Mr Johnson should seize rather than allowing such a flagship policy to be left to the vagaries of politics.
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 and receive exclusive members-only offers.
So, please - if you can - pay for our work. Just £5 per month is the starting point. If you think that which we are trying to achieve is worth more, you can pay us what you think we are worth. By doing so, you will be investing in something that is becoming increasingly rare. Independent journalism that cares less about right and left and more about right and wrong. Journalism you can trust.