Rishi Sunak’s transparency test over levelling up – The Yorkshire Post says

THE significance of Robert Halfon’s call for far more specific policy plans to ‘level up’ Britain – in addition to the thoughtful ideas of his own that he sets out in The Yorkshire Post this weekend – should not be under-estimated.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to be more transparent over the Government's 'levelling up' agenda.

Despite being born with mild cerebral palsy, and suffering from osteoarthritis, he’s not allowed these disabilities stand in the way of a Parliamentary career that now sees him head the cross-party Education Select Committee.

And while he’s always been a leading advocate of blue collar conservatism – Mr Halfon came to prominence with calls to freeze fuel duty ahead of each George Osborne budget – he’s clearly concerned, like this newspaper, that ‘levelling up’ has been allowed to become a glib soundbite to mask delays transforming communities across Britain. This must not be allowed to happen – both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, need to set out their ‘levelling up’ vision, objectives and policy plans for this Parliament. Important before Covid first struck nearly a year ago, this exercise is even more urgent and critical as the pandemic’s human and economic toll grows daily.

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But there’s also much merit to Mr Halfon’s suggestion for a Special Redistribution Fund, using the tax income raised from business, to help those on lower incomes or spend on poorer communities. The key, he says, is information on the allocation of money being “readily available on the Treasury website” for scrutiny.

Boris Johnson is still to provide specifics over the Government's levelling up agenda.

Basic common sense, it is also the defining transparency test that Ministers should be embracing if they’re truly serious about ‘levelling up’. Over to you, Chancellor.

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