Matching subsidies do not compensate for cuts in regional funds

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Overall government spending is planned to be £1,182bn in 2022-23. The compensatory spending announced last week was just £2.1bn – less than 0.2% of that amount (editor’s note, January 18). It is how the remaining 99.8% is spent that has created a major regional imbalance that is distorting the UK economy. Mainstream funding has depressed the north – and other areas outside London such as the West Country – and it is mainstream funding that needs to be balanced if equalization is ever to become a reality.

A good place to start would be bus services, where the government is overseeing the demise of terminals outside London just when cost of living and climate crises call for a ‘London solution’ (i.e. public control and ownership) for the whole country. Reasonable spending can solve the incessant chaos on northern railroads so often reported but rarely with solutions offered.
Jim Bamford
Sheffield

• Spent 30 years in various local councils, including eight years in the police force. It seemed during this period that we spent a lot of time and, usually by appointing consultants, a lot of money bidding for extra money from the central government. We have rarely been successful.

The current idea of ​​leveling up is another example of Westminster politicians thinking they know best, throwing a strange bone off the banquet table to be scraped off by the dogs below.

Like Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, where the process has already begun, England needs a proper transfer of real tax and decision-making power to its regions, coupled with the establishment of regional assemblies. The “national parliament” at Westminster can deal with foreign affairs, defence, immigration, currency, etc. Welcome to a federal UK.
John Marriott
North Hykeham, Lincolnshire

• One benefit of the lockdown was the sudden global access via Zoom to London events and discussions from which we in the north of England are usually excluded. Unfortunately, now that the Covid threat has “passed”, this display of leveling up is second to none.
Joanna Christina
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

• While it is tempting to review the list of projects that have been successful in securing equalization funds, uncovering real or perceived injustices in the process and outcomes, this is only a side show. Those who are serious about community decline should question the resolute policy of undermining local government that has led to central government funding for local services being reduced by some 40% over the last dozen or so years.

Photogenic projects that give ministers the ability to cut ribbons or put up signs are a poor substitute for cuts that have closed libraries, brought entertainment centers to a halt, left gaps unfilled and reduced care for vulnerable and vulnerable people.
Les Bright
Exeter

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