Give Black Country platform to spark next industrial revolution, ministers urged

The Government's "failed" levelling up agenda could prevent the Black Country from being at the forefront of the next industrial revolution, a shadow minister has said.

Pat McFadden MP speaking in the House of Commons
Pat McFadden MP speaking in the House of Commons

Pat McFadden said the Government needed to urgently "bridge the grand canyon" between the Prime Minister's "rhetoric" on levelling up and reality.

He cited a recent report claiming regions including the West Midlands had fallen further behind London since the Conservatives landmark policy was launched in 2019.

The Bloomberg report said that most of the region's constituencies had made little or no progress in areas including home affordability, inward investment and transport spending.

Speaking in the Commons, Shadow Treasury Secretary Mr McFadden, the Wolverhampton South East MP, asked why levelling up was so far "failing to deliver".

He said: "The Conservatives have been in office for 12 years; they were not elected last week.

"This is the self-declared central mission of the Government. Tackling regional inequality is a good aim.

"Communities like the one I represent in the Black Country made the last industrial revolution and they can make the next one too if they are given a platform on which to stand.

"But now, with the Bank of England governor warning of apocalyptic rises in food prices and a further likely steep rise in energy bills in the autumn, what will the Government do to reverse the failures outlined in the damning report, and bridge the grand canyon between the Prime Minister’s rhetoric on these things and the reality on the ground?"

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, said the Government had set out how it plans to deliver its levelling up "ambitions" in the white paper released earlier this year.

He said measures announced in the Queen's Speech "further demonstrates our commitment to making that a reality, including, notably, through the establishment in law of the UK infrastructure bank".

Mr Clarke added: "It is clearly the case, as I say, that none of these problems are simple to address.

"We have to be honest on both sides of the House that both Labour and Conservative-led Governments have failed to narrow those disparities.

"We have a plan which I am confident will deliver meaningful change in short order and over the medium to long term make a transformative difference to communities."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News