The levelling up agenda championed by Boris Johnson and his cabinet hopes to direct funds towards northern England. Communities further north have suffered from a severe disparity with those in the south, where most of the UK’s economic capital resides. But according to data from Gov.uk, the Government will need to triple investment in some areas to succeed in its goal of elevating the north.
The figures – from the 2019-2020 financial year – have outlined the mountain ministers must climb to bring northern funding closer to parity with the south.
The data shows that, out of the four home nations, England has the most “identifiable expenditure on enterprise and economic development”.
England received approximately £11,246 million, while Scotland got £1,736, Wales £801 million, and Northern Ireland £711 million.
Two English regions receive nearly as much as the three lowest funded nations combined.
Southern England, by far, has the most investment, with London taking in £2,568 million and the South East £2,359 million.
Combined, they take up more than a third of England’s total investment.
East England and the Southwest aren’t far behind with £1,011 and £1,016 million respectively.
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The data unveils a stark comparison with northern areas included in the Governments data.
The Northeast has received the least of any British community, approximately five times less than its southern counterparts.
Gov.uk estimates the region received just £467 million worth of investment from 2019 to 2020.
The East Midlands received almost as little, counting on £731 million of investment during the same time frame.
Not every Northern region suffered from such a profound finding deficit, as the Northwest received almost as much as Scotland.
The most funded region in the north counted on £1,346 million from 2019 to 2020.
Despite its much higher funding, the Northwest still requires nearly double that investment to match London.
The West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber received nearly as much, with £899 million and £848 million respectively.
Levelling up, according to the Government, intends to support local transport, jobs and businesses in the north with new investment packages.
Part of this includes a £1 billion fund for Greater Manchester’s local transport, the Government recently announced.
But northern voters, who have long faded into the periphery of successive governments, don’t believe the Prime Minister will deliver on his lofty promises.
A poll taken in mid-October showed that only 28 percent of voters believe the Prime Minister is sincere in his promises to “level up” the north.
The poll, which saw Savanta Comres question 2,103 British adults between October 9 and 10, found the majority (47 percent) did not believe the PM’s assertion levelling up would form a central pillar of his time in Number 10.
A further third (31 percent) said they thought the Government could never achieve its target to level up.
Some of this doubt may have come from Michael Gove’s recent attempt to define what levelling up means.
He became the minister overseeing the policy from his perch atop the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities during the mid-September cabinet reshuffle.
During a speech at the Conservative party conference, he provided a definition that included raising living standards, strengthening local leadership, improving public services and providing resources to enhance local “pride”.
But analysts noted these promises focussed on how the Government wanted to realise these goals rather than the ideal outcome.
And Rishi Sunak has likely shaken confidence in the policy as Chancellor.
The north is currently home to the most households using Universal Credit.
The Chancellor axed an uplift he added to the policy earlier this year, taking £20 from households reliant on it.
In total, many vulnerable claimants are now £1,000 worse off per year.