Andy McDonald MP "Putting Middlesbrough First"
Levelling up is a blizzard of announcements but with no new money. Without it, it’s simply a wish list.
I do however welcome the commitment to a long term plan and ambitions taking us to 2030 and that’s the right thing to do, but the aspirations around things like transport could be progressed right now.
For example, in Middlesbrough and across the Tees Valley, we could have the benefit of a London style bus system. The powers already exist but are unused by the Tory Mayor Ben Houchen and so passengers continue to pay extortionate bus fares paying £1.30 to travel a few stops that would get you right across London.
And yes to greater devolution but with it we must have greater transparency and accountability.
What has to stop is central government doling out funding for their favoured places and favoured schemes to the detriment of more impoverished areas and genuinely allow regions to make and implement their own decisions and choices.
In the final analysis, unless this plan delivers on eradicating poverty, shrinks the grotesque inequalities in this rich country of ours, enables everyone to live dignified and flourishing lives and secures the redistribution of wealth, it will have failed.