Johnson unveils mission to tackle UK’s ‘North-South’ divide

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled plans to tackle the country’s long-standing “North-South” divide, appointing former Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane as chief of a Levelling Up Taskforce.

The government department in charge of the agenda was also given a new name — the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, reports Xinhua news agency.

Downing Street said on Sunday that it was part of a government central mission to level up every part of Britain in which London and the south east 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, the Downing Street added.