Boris Johnson plans to shift government jobs and money into deprived regions in the North and Midlands to spark an economic revival as he seeks to cement Tory support in Blue Wall’ seats he took from Labour
- Plans include an £800million defence research agency based on a US model
- It i part of a plan to ‘level up’ and boost deprived areas after election victory
- Sites in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would also be chosen
- The Government wants to see off nationalist resurgence in UK nations
Boris Johnson will seek to bolster his wave of election victories across the Midlands and North of England by creating swathes of new Government jobs and pledging billions of pounds of investment outside of London, it was revealed today.
In a move designed to repay voters who switched to the Conservatives from Labour to give him an 80-seat majority to create a post-Brexit Britain his Government is planning to tear up decades-old rules to allow more money to be invested on projects in deprived areas.
At the same time an £800million defence research agency to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific innovation is among a raft of new government agencies that would be based outside the capital.
The agency, based on the American Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is said to be a key priority for Dominic Cummings, the PM’s chief aide.
Sites in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would also be chosen as part of a wider plan to ‘level up’ deprived areas and help see off nationalist resurgence with a raft of One Nation Tory schemes.
A source told the Financial Times: ‘We’re talking about some of the new bodies we want to establish, rather than simply moving existing Whitehall departments out of London.’
It comes despite a new poll that suggests the Tory rank and file are lukewarm about increasing Government spending.
Just a third of members polled by the Conservative Home website fulled supported One Nation conservatism – which is seen as less fiscally hardline.
Boris Johnson will seek to bolster his wave of election victories across the Midlands and North of England by creating swathes of new Government jobs outside of London
Mr Johnson, pictured at the National Institute for Health Research in Cambridge during the election campaign, is said to be planning an £800million research agency
Almost two thirds liked the idea of One Nation conservatism but ‘distrusted’ interventionist politics.
Scots should use ‘gentle persuasion’ to get new independence referendum – SNP MP
Independence supporters in Scotland must use ‘gentle persuasion’ to win a new referendum instead of threatening an illegal breakaway, a top nationalist MP said today.
Pete Wishart said any talk of ‘illegal referendums’ and ‘dissolving the union’ would see first-time Scottish nationalist Party voters voters move away from the party and back to their unionist rivals.
The Perth and North Perthshire MP, who increased his majority by more than 7,000 at this month’s election, said work is required by the party to retain the support which saw it increase its Commons seats to 47.
Writing online he said persuasion is required to win people over to the case for an independent Scotland, and the party must fight the urge to hold a referendum quickly – which he said would play into the hands of the UK Government.
He wrote: ‘The Tories are hoping beyond hope that we now blow it through impatience and alienate this new support that is coming our way.
‘Instead it should now be all about gentle persuasion, about convincing and understanding.’
Many seats that had been Labour for generations fell to Mr Johnson as Jeremy Corbyn’s party collapsed on December 12, giving the PM a majority of 80.
As a result Treasury officials are understood to be rewriting the regulations which critics say make it hard for government investment decisions to be approved in those areas.
Mr Cummings, has argued that the existing rules favour London and the south east because they have to maximise economic return.
They are used to evaluate everything from transport infrastructure to spending decisions on scientific research.
Instead, greater weight would be given to improving the wellbeing of people rather than simply focused on overall economic growth, The Times reported.
Mr Johnson is also said by the Financial Times to be considering creating an ‘MIT of the North’, potentially based in Leeds.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a major world centre of technological ingenuity and attracts top minds from around the globe.
The Conservative party is also planning to move part of its political operation out of Westminster, with plans to bolster its regional operation in the so-called Blue Wall of seats where it is under-represented on the ground, the paper reported.
The changes as a whole are seen as key to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to invest tens of billions of pounds in communities which backed the Tories for the first time at the election.
Mr Johnson is also said to be considering an ‘MIT of the North’, potentially based in Leeds. Pictured is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a major world centre of technological ingenuity and attracts top minds from around the globe
Mr Johnson has stressed that the Conservatives must work hard to maintain the voters who may have ‘lent’ their backing in order to implement Brexit.
The Tories’ secured support in Labour’s former heartlands in the North and the Midlands and the Prime Minister will be working to maintain the newfound voters.
A Treasury spokesperson said: ‘We work across Government to ensure investment is focused on where it is needed across the UK and delivers value for money for the taxpayer.’