British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday (September 19) unveiled plans to tackle Britain’s long-standing “North-South” divide, appointing former Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane as chief of a Levelling Up Taskforce.
The British government department in charge of the agenda was also given a new name, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Downing Street said it was part of a government central mission to level up every part of Britain in which London and the southeast are seen as the wealthier regions, compared to the working class areas in the north and central England.
The initiative is also seen as Johnson’s way of maintaining support for his Conservative Party in the so-called “Red Wall” areas of northern England. In the 2019 snap election, these areas turned their backs on supporting the main opposition Labour Party, which traditionally represents working-class families.
The taskforce has been jointly established by Johnson and Michael Gove, who was named just days ago as the Secretary of State for Levelling Up.
Gove will drive cross-Whitehall efforts to deliver a program of tangible improvements in every part of Britain as the country rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Downing Street in a statement.