When Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the offices of the Yorkshire Evening Post, we took the opportunity to take him to task over the increasing disparity between the haves and the have nots in Leeds.
We know that anything less would be letting down the readers of this newspaper.
‘I see it,’ he told senior YEP journalists. ‘I know it is true and it has got to be addressed.’
Insisting that he cares deeply about ‘levelling up’ society; closing the gap between the rich and the poor; sharing opportunities more evenly amongst children and young adults from all corners of this city, Mr Johnson declared that the solutions required to begin closing that gap would take 10 years to deliver.
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The irony of the number he chose – 10: the number of years longer that a person can expect to live having been born in Harewood as opposed to having been born to parents living in Harehills – will be lost on few in Leeds.
It is with a heavy heart that we advise Number 10, and indeed those charged with running the city of Leeds, that we have heard this all before –around 10 years ago, in fact.
In 2010 we were told in a report by Leeds City Council’s health scrutiny board that men living in Harewood could expect to live 10 years longer than those living in Hunslet.
This newspaper has in black and white one prominent councillor declaring it a scandal, adding that he ‘as a human being’ was appalled and that something needed to be done about it.
And yet here we are a decade on and the gap is getting wider. Prime Minister, we cannot wait that long. We deserve better than this.