Tories seem hellbent on levelling down | Letter

The government is doing the opposite of its ‘level up’ mantra, says Jennifer Hornsby

The prime minister assured the electorate that he would “level up”. I don’t know exactly what that means. But perhaps one can understand it by contrasting it with levelling down. George Osborne’s cuts to local government had the harshest effect on those in the most deprived council regions. That seems like levelling down. And one might think that the move to universal credit, which saw those already at greater risk of poverty lose out the most, was another case of levelling down.

The managing of the virus by putting geographic regions into tiers would seem to be a further case. The polarisation of rich and poor regions in the UK is more extreme than in any other western European nation. To place tougher lockdown restrictions on poorer regions can only result in those who are already worse off become even more so.

The government has paid huge sums to private consultants and an outsourcing company to do what council staff and local healthcare providers in every region could have done much better. It seems as if we now have not just levelling down, but levelling down at everyone’s expense.
Jennifer Hornsby
London

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