The government is widening two divides – north vs south and central vs local

By implementing stronger restrictions in the north than in the south, Boris Johnson’s has created a chance for Labour to regain support, writes Andrew Grice

Friday 09 October 2020 17:32 BST
Nottingham is set to face fresh restrictions
Nottingham is set to face fresh restrictions (AFP/Getty)

When voters in the “red wall” of Labour seats in the north and Midlands flocked to the Conservatives last December, the main factors were seen as Boris Johnson’s “get Brexit done” message and their antipathy towards Jeremy Corbyn.

However, there was a third reason. Many of the switchers felt the north had been long neglected by London-centric governments that allowed wealth to be concentrated in the south. These people demanded their fair share of the national pie and Johnson promised just that.

He made a start, by rewriting Treasury rules on infrastructure projects, which favoured London and the southeast. But his attempt to bridge the north-south divide is now under real threat in the coronavirus pandemic. Tough restrictions in the north are expected to be announced on Monday, including the closure of pubs and restaurants. The new local furlough scheme will be less generous than the one Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, introduced in April.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in