Months ago, this pandemic was dubbed the “great leveller.” In truth, it’s anything but.
Numerous reports have concluded that Covid will disproportionately hurt poorer communities, especially in the UK.
The UK is one of the most regionally unequal countries in the developed world. The economic gap between different parts of the country has widened to the point where London’s growth since 2010 is nine times higher than the area covered by the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.
Think tank IPPR found that 1 in 4 of northerners earn less than the living wage, with 1.6 million earning less than they need to live.
Covid-19 offers the chance to rethink what it means to “level up” regions that are struggling economically. Instead of focusing on “bouncing back” and supporting the old ways of wealth and power, the Government should take the time to think about reform. Make it work better for those communities devastated by austerity over the past decade.
We must invest in the foundations of what constitutes a good quality of life, health and education, which are often overlooked in place of Britain’s obsession with infrastructure projects like the £100 billion HS2.
With the Boris Johnson and his cabinet pushing the concept of “levelling up” the north, let’s hope that Johnson can enact some real change. Investing in communities and renouncing the austerity policies of the Cameron era would be a good start.