Why there’s nothing new about Leveling Up

As Boris Johnson publishes his much-delayed plan to “Level Up” the country, Jack Blanchard explores the long history of the North/South divide in England and the efforts of past governments to narrow the gap.

Author and former FT journalist Brian Groom explains how the North/South divide stretches back centuries, and how prime ministers of all parties have been trying to support the North for at least 100 years. Former Deputy PM Michael Heseltine recalls the regeneration schemes he led in the 1980s and 1990s which made him a household name, and the factors he believes made them such a success. John Prescott’s former deputy Richard Caborn explains New Labour’s radically different approach to the problem, with large public sector bodies set up in 1999 to drive growth in every region. And Nick Clegg’s former director of strategy, Polly Mackenzie, sets out why David Cameron’s Coalition government tore it all up and started again in 2010.

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