Oliver Coppard

400 WEEKS COUNTDOWN TO LEVELLING UP: SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S NEW MAYOR CHALLENGES THE PRIME MINISTER ON HIS PLANS FOR THE REGION.

Published 9 May 2022 at 4:03pm

With 400 weeks to go until the government’s levelling up deadline, South Yorkshire’s new Mayor, Oliver Coppard, has challenged the government to get on with delivering on their promise of improving the quality of life for millions across the country by their own deadline of 2030. 

In an open letter, Oliver Coppard urges the PM to co-operate with him and leaders across South Yorkshire to address the disparities between the best and worst-off parts of the UK, highlighting the most pressing issues facing the communties of South Yorkshire.

The government's ambitions in the levelling up white paper outlined their nation-wide plans to increase skills training, narrow the Healthy Life Expectancy between local areas where it is highest and lowest, and to bring public transport networks significantly closer to the standards found in London. 

The reality in South Yorkshire is that only 37% of residents are educated to degree level, compared to the national average of 44%. The healthy life expectancy is significantly lower in South Yorkshire's three towns for Males and Females (Barnsley 57.54 and Doncaster 59.08 compared to England 63.18). And in 2020, bus passenger journeys had fallen by nearly 60% across the region since privatisation in 1986. 

In his letter, Oliver Coppard said: “Your government has made clear its ambition to address the disparities between the best and worst-off parts of our country by 2030. There are now fewer than 400 weeks left to deliver on those ambitions, and yet the scale of the task is significant.

“While we do face considerable challenges, none of the challenges we face are inevitable or insurmountable. Across the 12 missions articulated in the Levelling-Up White Paper, the evident disparities between the position in South Yorkshire and the ambitions you have so clearly articulated are all the result of political choices made over the last 40 years.

“If we are to overcome those disparities in just 400 weeks, then your government must finally recognise and respond to the needs of our communities; our priorities must be your priorities. Our challenges must be your own.”

Read the Mayor’s letter in full (PDF, 675kb)

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Last Updated: 09/05/2022

Published In: Mayor, Featured

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