Budget is Rishi Sunak's chance to help rebuild Leeds - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

We live in critical times - the last year alone has left our city beaten and bruised.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 6:00 am
For too long the buzz word from the Government has been “levelling up” places like Leeds and the North of England. Pic: Shutterstock

More than 40,000 people are currently furloughed from their jobs and Universal Credit claims have risen by 95 per cent.

Many of our thriving hospitality businesses say they have simply been left decimated by the impact of the pandemic.

Today inequality in Leeds has been described as a wound that has had a plaster on it for years and the pandemic has simply ripped it off, leaving people screaming.

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The Prime Minister told this newspaper in 2019 it would take up to a decade to narrow the social inequality gap in Leeds.

But here we are, in the wake of a pandemic, with a catalogue of consequences ranging from the worrying impact on education right through to health inequality and businesses struggling for survival.

The wider consequences of Covid will undoubtedly continue to be felt for many years to come.

For too long the buzz word from the Government has been “levelling up” places like Leeds and the North of England.

Actually Chancellor, now is the time for us to level with you: we need action and we need it now.

We want you to in turn level with us about how you’re going to make sure proud cities like Leeds don’t bare the scars of the last year any longer than we need to or see the gap in inequality widen.

Talk of commitment needs to be backed up by actions and tools to help us rebuild our economy - not just empty words.

And the Budget is the chance to show us once and for all what the end game finally looks like.

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