It’s a simple enough question, but perhaps one that is asked surprisingly often given how much we’ve heard the phrase since 2019. It was a key plank of Boris Johnson’s election campaign and has been incorporated into the everyday vocabulary of his successors Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. For a long time here in England, you couldn’t turn on the TV or open a newspaper without being confronted by the phrase. Boris Johnson even famously,
Unfortunately, despite the warm words, the so-called ‘levelling-up’ agenda has failed to get off the ground. Almost four years on from the Conservative victory in 2019, public services are at breaking point, health and regional inequalities have widened, economic growth has flatlined and working people are facing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.
So, what does real levelling-up look like? For me, it’s giving people everything they need to get on in life. It means access to good and affordable housing, high-quality education, and strong public services.
It also means ensuring that people are getting a fair deal in the workplace. Here in Tameside, I regularly speak with constituents who work hard every single day, yet still struggle to put food on the table. This reality, alongside a watering down of workers’ rights which has seen zero-hour contracts skyrocket and fire and rehire practices become all too common, speaks to a tangible failure to level up in Britain.
It’s time for the Government to act, then, in the interests of the constituents I represent here in Tameside and people right across the country. I’m proud that Labour has committed to enshrining basic rights for workers on day one; banning zero-hour contracts, ending fire and rehire and tackling chronically low pay.
But make no mistake, this work should be happening now, and the longer the Government sits on its hands the worse things will be for working people.
I want everyone in Tameside to be supported to thrive. We have extraordinary talent and fantastic local businesses, but these are being hamstrung by a Government that is out of road and out of ideas.
So, enough dither, delay, and broken promises. Let’s deliver for working people, and build a Britain that is fairer, more prosperous, and more secure.