WHATEVER happened to the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda to help the neglected North? At the 2019 General Election Boris Johnson declared it his “defining mission” – but that promise has evaporated in the same way as all the rest.

In fact, things are getting worse. The Government scheme intended to replace targeted funding from the EU will leave the English regions £78m a year worse off. Of the 79 areas of England that applied for funding to improve much-needed local bus services only 34 were successful, and only 61 per cent of our most deprived areas will get any help at all from the modest levelling-up fund. In London, the gross disposable household income per head is 49 per cent higher than in the North East, and the last 12 years of Conservative government have seen this gap continue to widen.

The Government’s duty of care to the country as a whole has been displaced by the priority to keep its unpopular and disgraced Prime Minister in a job. Urgent problems – such as the need to retrofit housing insulation to cut heating bills, modernise our creaking transport infrastructure, support the rollout of electric vehicles, and create new green jobs in the regions – have been quietly shelved.

As inflation and the cost of living soars, Johnson’s pledge at the last election also seems to have been forgotten by our MP Kevin Hollinrake, as these matters receive no mention at all on his website. Like Johnson, he has taken his supporters for granted and backed a government that ignores the North.

Dr Peter Williams, Malton