Is the north now the poor man of Britain?

IF Prime Minister David Cameron and his cronies are trying to make the north feel alienated and unloved then let the Yorkshire Evening Post be the first to congratulate them on a job well done.

Leeds has been made to grovel like a ragged-trousered orphan, forced to go to the Government with begging bowl in hand to plead for funding to get relatively modest schemes off the ground.

Having been told the trolleybus system is far too expensive to implement and sent back to the drawing board, we now watch dumbfounded as 1billion is splurged on a single London train station.

That's FOUR times the sum Leeds is asking for to deliver a transport system that could bring benefits to the entire city, one that historically has been starved of central cash to improve its decidedly second-rate transport infrastructure.

This comes barely 48 hours after our story looking at the vast difference in the depth of funding cuts faced by northern councils compared to those confronting their counterparts in the south.

This Coalition already has the feel of a government for London and the south east, rather than one that represents the country as a whole.

But we have a message for Mr Cameron. One he would do well to heed.

Forget about the north and you can forget about our votes too.

Job well done but still work to do

A DECADE ago, the schools system in Leeds was in disarray.

A damning report by Ofsted in May 2000 saw Leeds City Council lose control of education services dubbed the worst in the country.

It paved the way for the formation of Education Leeds, a joint venture company that meshed public and private together to run the city's failing schools.

The advert for the position of chief executive said the successful candidate would have to spearhead cultural and organisational change, lead an agenda of modernisation and create the conditions that allowed schools to raise educational standards and achievements.

It sounded quite a task given the parlous state of the city's education system, but the six-figure salary offered substantial reward.

As he leaves the job 10 years after securing it, Chris Edwards can feel he has made a decent fist of it.

When he arrived, fewer than 40 per cent of pupils achieved good GCSE grades. Today the figure stands at 80 per cent.

Confidence that was at rock bottom then has been lifted and it shows in the results being achieved and the standards being attained in schools across the city.

Mr Edwards will know there is still room for improvement, there always is when it comes to education.

A schools system that stands still is guilty of failing the pupils and teachers who fill them.

But after a decade in the hot seat, he can feel satisfied with his contribution to giving our children a better start in life.

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