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No progress made on half of UK government’s levelling-up targets

No progress made on half of UK government’s levelling-up targets

No progress made on half of UK government’s levelling-up targets
Apr 01, 2024 1 min, 6 secs

The Conservatives have been accused of failing to live up to their ambitious agenda for Britain’s regions, as Guardian analysis shows no progress has been made on half of their levelling up targets.

The findings are further evidence of how far ministers have fallen short of the lofty goals set out by Boris Johnson earlier this parliament, when he promised to raise living standards and close Britain’s yawning regional equality gap.

Michael Heseltine, the former cabinet minister and long-time champion of regional development, warned that some of the levelling up funds appeared to have been used as political tools to win votes in certain seats in the north.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt hold a ‘Levelling Up’ sign as local MP Sara Britcliffe ducks during a visit to Accrington Market Hall in January 2023.

A recent report from the public accounts committee found only 10% of the £10bn allocated for levelling up had been spent, while 80% of the projects that received money early in the process were due to miss their deadline of completion by the end of March.

They include health, where data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the average healthy life that a child can expect when they are born – the metric identified in the levelling up white paper – has been getting steadily shorter for the past decade.

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