Metro mayor Ben Houchen has called on MPs vying to be the next prime minister to fully commit to levelling up the red wall and left behind areas.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has outlined a five-point ‘Levelling Up Pledge’ that he is urging all candidates to sign up to.
The pledge includes reform the Treasury Green Book evaluation process, keeping the Ministry for the Department for Levelling Up, and a commitment to the full construction of Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Mayor Houchen said: 'Despite the pandemic progress has been made and no candidate can backslide on the 2019 commitment, red wall voters cannot be ignored. That’s why I’m calling on every MP that throws their hat into the ring to sign up to my five-point Levelling Up Pledge.
'The uncertainty of a leadership election cannot lead to uncertainty about the future of levelling up. There must be unwavering support for this critical policy otherwise red wall and left behind areas will clearly and loudly make their feelings known at the ballot box in 2024.'
He said the levelling up agenda has allowed Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to secure more than £419m to invest in local priorities such as improving public transport, supporting local businesses, and transforming local town centres.