The much-discussed issue of “levelling up” (Editorial, 6 October) leaves me feeling irritated, with the implication that those of us living in the south are all well-off. Members of my family, on a trip to the north of England recently, were amazed by how cheap property prices and rentals were there, compared with similar properties here. This sends up our living costs, and my grandchildren have little hope of getting on the property ladder.
With jobs where pay levels are similar nationwide (such as those in public service, social care or teaching), the effects are considerable. When I was a school governor, young teachers from, for example, Liverpool or Manchester, soon returned there because of their increase in living costs here. Also, many lower-paid workers in cities such as Brighton have higher travel expenses as they cannot afford to live near their workplaces.
Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
Levelling up. What to do and how to do it: 1) Recognise that city regions need to be the basic building blocks for democracy in the UK, and reform governance accordingly. 2) Give them statutory powers over the key functions that need to be integrated, including strategic planning, transportation, economic development, social services, health, education, police and environmental recovery. 3) Require them to produce and cost a report identifying regional problems and opportunities, responses and effective action, and to monitor this on a regular basis. 4) Enable them to negotiate the required levels of short- and longer-term funding, local funding and central government levelling-up support.
How do we know this will work? Because for 20 years, before the advent of the parliament, Scotland had such a system of successful regional governance. And also that the EU, in administering its programmes to address deprivation, went straight to Europe’s regions, not its nations, to ensure delivery.
Former secretary general of Metrex, the Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas
Levelling up? I suggest the following: move Eton College to Hartlepool, situate the monarchy in Workington, deposit the Tory party HQ in Moscow, and publish a list of media ownership in the UK
Peter D Hogg
Does levelling up mean getting rid of grammar schools? I do hope so.
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