Northern leaders lay out offer to work with Government to achieve levelling up 'game-changers'

Leaders from across the North have set out an offer to work with Government in order to achieve the five “game-changers” needed to level up the country.

West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton in September

Figures, including West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin say that closing the education and skills gap between the north and south, as well as improving connectivity across towns and cities are key to reducing regional inequalities.

These, alongside a green industrial revolution, increasing public and private spending across the north, as well as reducing the large differences in life expectancy seen across the country, are key to levelling up, as set out in a document published by Convention of the North today.

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If achieved, they “will grow an inclusive economy that delivers for the north and the country, while also tackling the health inequalities that have been laid bare by COVID-19,” they say.

Following the publication, newly-appointed Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has also been invited to a convention in Liverpool next January, focused on laying out how the Government’s commitment on levelling up can be turned into action.

Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin said the move is “a powerful statement of northerners’ desire to get on with the job of levelling up, working together across the North and with Government”.

She added: Through a clear focus on our levelling up priorities of health, skills, transport, innovation and leading the transition to net zero, we can deliver an inclusive, productive, sustainable economy that works for all northerners and for the country.

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“As an immediate action, we’re calling on Government once again to publish its Integrated Rail Plan and commit to delivering both Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 in full.

The news comes as rural schools stuck with slow internet speeds have been hooked up to faster broadband to “level up” teacher and pupil access.

North Yorkshire is among the area that has seen the most schools connected to hyperfast gigabit broadband, while plans are under way to introduce full fibre to around 6,800 public buildings across the country, including hospitals and libraries.