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Levelling-up Agenda

Volume 698: debated on Monday 28 June 2021

Levelling up is the Prime Minister’s key priority, making sure that people right across this country have the opportunity to thrive. The way that the Department does that is to work with other Departments, particularly thinking about skills and people going into in-work progression, as well as the use of levers, such things as the flexible support fund, that are aimed at removing barriers for people to take advantage of the opportunities available.

You will know, Mr Speaker, and the Secretary of State should know that Huddersfield is a prosperous, highly skilled area of our country—yes, in Yorkshire and the north of England. Just like our next-door neighbour, Batley and Spen, we are waiting for the promises and the slogans to turn into leadership and change. It is not good enough to talk about a northern powerhouse that never arrives or levelling up that is never delivered. When will we see the high rates of unemployment in our part of West Yorkshire and the high levels of people on social benefits reduced? Bring back prosperity—let’s have some leadership on this, I beg you.

I share the hon. Gentleman’s ambition and am very confident that Ryan Stephenson will make an excellent MP in the future to bring that to Batley and Spen. It is important to recognise the wider issues that the hon. Gentleman and his area face. I am sure that we will continue to work with Tracy Brabin following her election as Mayor to ensure we get the skills relevant to those areas, but it will take local leadership as well as the leadership that we offer from the centre.