Is this a country that works for us?

Are our towns getting our fair share of the country’s wealth and opportunities?

Are our voices being heard?

Is our country becoming a more equal and just place for us?

On all of these questions, I fear that the answer is a resounding no.

The fundamental balance between city and town, rich and poor, and north and south is grossly unfair.

Many of the problems we are therefore trying to tackle locally are not due to a lack of effort or a lack of aspiration, as many characterise, but a lack of opportunity.

The cards our towns have been dealt with are not providing the opportunities we deserve.

To put it simply the ladder to success is being held just out of reach for too many in our community.

When Labour launched our 2017 General Election manifesto, this is exactly what we were recognising as a party as our guiding principle.

This is not just about wealth, this is about communities left forgotten by Westminster.

And the only way we can remedy this fundamental imbalance in society is with radical transformation – something the Conservatives, by their very name cannot provide.

Let’s take just one example, and it’s an example I raised with the Prime Minister at PMQs last week.

In the digital sector, 55 per cent of all UK digital jobs are in the south east of England – just 12 per cent in the whole north of England.

This is so important not just to see the employment imbalance and the growing north/south divide, but also to think about what type of jobs these are.

Digital and cyber sectors will play an enormous role in the future of our economy, they require creative minds and are starting predominantly from scratch.

With the decline of our manufacturing and industrial base across northern towns, a responsible, thoughtful and transformative government would try and sow the seeds of growth for these sectors in our northern towns.

But we have seen the absolute opposite.

The southeast is yet again thriving while our northern communities are left as an afterthought.

I am in little doubt that Westminster-centric decision making like this is a key reason why we saw the Brexit vote three years ago.

Our towns haven’t got a voice and increasingly feel like we don’t have a stake in the future of our country.

The only way of remedying this is entrusting our communities with the decision making, the powers, the resourcing and the investment to take back control of our town’s destinies.

I envisage our northern towns being the heartlands for the emerging industries – we have so much to offer as a community – but we just need the opportunity to thrive and that is exactly what a proudly radical and transformative Labour Government will finally deliver – for the many, not the few.

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