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Letter: ‘Levelling Up’ is about Real, Achievable Policy Not Soundbites

Published on: 10 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 10 Jun, 2022

From: Brian Creese

Chair of Guildford Labour

In response to the speech on the Levelling Up Bill by Angela Richardson MP as reported in: Guildford’s MP Outlines the ‘Levelling Up’ Guildford Requires But Political Opponents Are Critical

Guildford does include two of Surrey’s poorest areas. We know from research that the impact of being poor in a wealthy area is often worse than being poor in a generally deprived area, so this is a really serious problem for those of us who want to see inequality fall in Guildford.

There are many actions which would help support the most deprived groups in these areas:

  • an increase in benefit payments (readers may recall the Tories reduced Universal Credit by £20 a week because retaining the increase was deemed “unaffordable”);
  • more council houses rather than unaffordable “affordable” housing, significant investment in education to bring schools in Westborough and Stoke up to the highest level;
  • better and cheaper and welcoming bus services which run on Sundays and during the evenings; and
  • measures to improve air quality around Southway – currently one of the worst in the country.

Instead, our MP, having identified the problem, goes on to talk about business opportunities and building a tunnel under Guildford, a project that appears to have support from just 137 local residents, which would be a criminal waste of money and resources – and which would lead to appalling ecological damage.  

To have any impact, levelling up has to be about real, achievable policy not simply boosterish soundbites with no meaning.”

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