Rosie Lockwood wrote
Much more needs to be done to really elevate the country (Image: Getty)
People in different parts of the country will go to the polls this week at a time when our democracy and economy are under severe strain, and regional inequality is growing.
Wages and benefits have not kept pace with this rapidly rising cost of living. This is making inequalities such as regional divisions increasing. In the North, about 22% of jobs are paid below real living wages and poverty in the workplace is increasing. As a result, 3.5 million Northerners were trapped in poverty.
The national government’s failure to act to support those who need it most, one horror story after another, and little showing in local places for an upgrade program could leave residents feeling frustrated. hope. This is the background of these elections.
So reports of low turnout across the UK are not surprising. People join when they feel they can and it’s worth their time to do it.
However, the mixed results series are important today and show clear geographic differences in voting preferences, showing that (while national commentators focus only on national issues) ) that people are interested in what is happening in their local area.
These elections are important in their own right because local leadership is important. Unlike policymakers in Whitehall, local leaders live and know their regions well. When they are empowered with the right policy levers and resources, evidence shows they are more likely to make progressive investment decisions, grow the local economy, drive services better public health and help reduce inequality in the region.
People and elected organizations today have a great challenge ahead. They have to do what they can for their regions with the resources they have, and they will need to secure much more to go further.
But for this to happen, the central government must change. The Upgrade Fund’s allocation for 2021 represents an investment of just £32 per person in the North, compared with a £413 drop per person in annual council service spending over the past decade.
What we’ve seen so far won’t cut it. Westminster austerity, which is imposed on local government and has a disproportionate impact on the North, must be reversed and promotion must be achieved through meaningful change of authority. power and resources from Whitehall, to City Hall. Voters would never have felt any part of the agenda if this hadn’t happened.
Today, commentators are talking about the effect of the election results on the so-called ‘red wall’, a misnomer used to generalize about the North, which relies on parliament rather than local electoral boundaries.
But what they should really get from these results is that all parties need to distribute the local locations as they please, on their terms.
Northern voters show they know that Conservative promises of an upgrade are not coming true but Labor has yet to offer them a viable alternative. Voter patience for regional inequality action, and a better kind of politics, won’t last forever.
We know that it is possible to design a fair and equitable economy and to provide a good life for everyone, everywhere in the country. It is time for political parties to show that they will deliver.
Rosie Lockwood is IPPR North’s head of advocacy. She tweeted @Rosie_Lockwood.
https://www.nationalworld.com/opinion/local-elections-2022-analysis-parties-listen-locally-levelling-up-rosie-lockwood-3684441 Local election analysis: Parties need to listen to the local