Most Red Wall seats worse off under Boris Johnson despite leveling promise
May 18, 2022, 2:13 p.m.
This journalist shares the findings of his in-depth investigation into the quality of life in new Conservative constituencies with James O’Brien, revealing a growing divide between the North and the South East.
Reports have shown that amid the cost of living crisis, the North-South divide is widening – despite the formation of the new Department of Leveling Up, tasked with tackling regional inequalities in Britain.
Bloomberg found that 86% of former Red Wall seats are now worse off than they were before Boris Johnson became prime minister.
Joe Mayes, who led the survey into the impact of the upgrade, told James O’Brien that “effectively the goal is failing”.
He explained that the research took into account life expectancy, income and other factors such as access to amenities to determine whether life for people in the north of England is improving.
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Michael Gove’s department has announced myriad plans to “level up” the North of England, such as unveiling new transport projects, property developments and reindustrialisation.
The proposals were initially met with intrigue in traditional Labor hearts, including many of the former “red wall” seats the Tories won in the 2019 election.
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The UK Politics reporter for Bloomberg told LBC listeners his investigation found that ‘in the red wall, indeed, more likely than anywhere else in the country, you were likely to do worse than London and the south east since Boris Johnson became Prime. Minister.”
Mayes spoke of the magnitude of the “challenge [Mr Johnson] must stay in power”, given that he is counting on many red wall seats for the overwhelming majority that the Conservatives currently hold in the House of Commons.
James wanted to know what had led to these areas ‘being left exactly where they were’ before Boris Johnson took office, to which Mr Mayes explained ‘it really does seem like the government hasn’t properly crafted its plan”.
He shared a conversation with a Stoke Council executive who struggled to spend allocated Leveling Up funds because the development infrastructure just isn’t there.
Mr Mayes went on to note that “Westminster’s buy-in to actually make a difference is also quite limited”, pointing to how many civil service offices have still not moved out of London despite promises from Michael Gove.
He said voters in former Red Wall seats “feel very left behind” by the government, having trusted Boris Johnson in 2019.