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The Government's mantra about levelling things up for bill payers in beleaguered households seems to have suffered another huge blow and come in for major criticism following the Queen’s speech in parliament, according to a think tank committed to making inclusive economic growth a reality.
Cabinet Minister for Levelling Up Michael Gove admitted “cost of living issues” people currently face could “deepen inequality”.
The Centre for Progressive Policy regularly shines a spotlight on our cost of living crisis. And, according to the think tank’s latest report, 8.9 million people live in places its index identifies as most vulnerable to the current crisis.
A total of 52 per cent are former Red Wall areas with the North, Midlands and London all highly vulnerable.
And a total of 78 per cent of the places that benefit the most from the council tax rebate are not those most vulnerable to the cost of living.
The CPP index incorporates in its measure of deprivation a place’s relative risk of more people being pulled into poverty; and the relative risk of those who were already hard up being pushed into destitution.
It finds the North of England will be particularly hard hit by rising living costs with many areas such as Kingston upon Hull and Blackpool doing badly on all of its indicators.
CPP Director Ben Franklin said: “The Queen’s Speech represented another nail in the coffin of the Government’s levelling up agenda, with no substantial policies announced that will turn this from an ambition to reality.
“The Levelling Up Bill falls way short of the mark, failing to even attempt to address the economic challenge the government was elected to tackle.
"An over-reliance on small-scale funding pots for local areas is no replacement for the transformative levels of investment required to turn the tide on entrenched regional inequalities.
“Our research has found that some of the least economically developed parts of our country are those most at risk from the cost of living crisis, and the minister responsible for levelling up has admitted that rising prices are likely to deepen regional inequalities.
“The lack of action to tackle this urgent challenge will make the task harder still, leaving many people in desperate situations.”