Why? Many of the measures proposed by Labour’s Alan Milburn, a Cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government, have actually been advocated by senior Tories prior to this month’s Budget and this week’s launch of a new Industrial Strategy which now supersedes David Cameron’s much-vaunted long-term economic plan.
Rebalancing road and rail spending in favour of the North? Business Secretary Greg Clark, the politician in charge of the Industrial Strategy, conceded to Hull North MP Diana Johnson in Parliament that “transport investment can transform the prospects of an area”. This is now on the record.
Extra funding to help schools in rural and coastal areas where picture postcard scenes mask under-achievement? Chairman of the Education Select Committee, Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart, now a whip, championed this. Though recent changes to the funding formula are a start, there’s still more to do.
Greater partnerships between schools and employers? Education Secretary Justine Greening cited this during a recent interview with The Yorkshire Post when she returned to her home town of Rotherham and set out her desire for “equality of opportunity for all”.
If there’s so much unanimity, why is political progress so slow? Yes, Yorkshire is not helping itself with the county’s devolution deadlock, but the fact of the matter is that it takes an age for the most able and nimble of Ministers to crank the slow-moving Whitehall policy machine into gear.
Until someone is given specific responsibility for this – The Yorkshire Post has floated the idea of elevating the post of Northern Powerhouse Minister to the Cabinet – the Social Mobility Commission’s findings will be just as stark in 12 months time as young people here fail to fulfil their potential or are forced to move to London to further their ambitions and, thereby, exacerbate the North-South divide still further.