Ian Murray labels Boris Johnson’s ‘levelling up’ speech as ‘vacuous as his soundbites’

Ian Murray has labelled Boris Johnson’s landmark “levelling up” speech as “vacuous as his soundbites” as he set out his own proposals for how to achieve the ambition in Scotland.

Labour’s Scottish shadow secretary accused the Prime Minister of failing to offer any real solutions to improve the living standards of people in the UK.

Mr Johnson on Thursday insisted he had set out a "skeleton" of a plan that included spreading power and opportunity more evenly.

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Speaking in Coventry, the Prime Minister insisted his flagship policy would be a "win-win" for everyone, but also urged the public to email him ideas.

Ian Murray criticised the Prime Minister's levelling up speech.
Ian Murray criticised the Prime Minister's levelling up speech.

Now Mr Murray has criticised the address for a lack of substance.

Speaking to The Scotsman, he said: "The PM’s 'levelling up" speech was as vacuous as his other soundbites.

"He doesn't even know what it means, let alone any practical policies to deliver it.

"Communities don't need soundbites, but real action to tackle inequalities and improve opportunities.”

Mr Murray then detailed a raft of policy ideas he claimed could actually “level up” in Scotland.

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He explained: "He could have announced actual delivery on their Shared Prosperity Fund, which merely replaces previous EU funding, use the power of government procurement and introduce a buy Scottish policy, invest heavily in education catch-up, and diversify the economy out of the South East of England to name, but a few ideas.

"His speech was thousands of words in the right order, but with no meaning – typical of this PM and his government."

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Johnson also hinted at extra powers to councils so they were on the same level as metro mayors.

He said: “We want local leaders to come forward, but obviously with these powers must come responsibility and accountability.”

Mr Johnson had also promised to empower strong local leaders by taking a more flexible approach to devolution, investing in infrastructure and connectivity, regenerating towns and high streets, and ensuring people have the skills and training to get good jobs.

The Prime Minister had earlier admitted the UK economy was “unbalanced” before the pandemic hit.

He added: “And when I say unbalanced, I mean that for too many people, geography turns out to be destiny.”

The independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation questioned how “levelling up” sat with cutting Universal Credit.

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