Government has ‘failed to close regional divides on high-tech jobs’ – Lisa Nandy

Lisa NandyLisa Nandy
Lisa Nandy
Some areas of the UK would take hundreds of years to hit the UK average for high-tech jobs on their current trajectory, Labour analysis suggests.

Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said the Government was “lacking ambition for our places and our people” as she pointed to a regional divide in the provision of “jobs of the future”.

Labour analysis claims that London had twice as many high-tech jobs as the North and the Midlands.

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The party said some areas in the south had more of the roles than anywhere else in Europe, while other parts of the UK lag behind countries such as Montenegro and Romania.

Areas around Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire have nearly one in eight jobs in high-tech sectors, whilst some areas of central London have nearly one in 10, the party’s research shows.

Labour said this compared to less than one in 50 in Lincolnshire and around one in 40 in South Yorkshire and the Tees Valley.

The party said it would take Tees Valley 120 years to reach the UK average for high-tech jobs of 5.1%, on its current trajectory.

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It would take Lincolnshire almost 300 years at the current rate of growth, they said, while in Kent it would be the year 2166 before it was met.

Ms Nandy said: “There are parts of the country where high-tech jobs are being realised through investment in renewables, which cuts energy bills, it gets money back into people’s pockets, it creates apprenticeships.

“But under the Conservatives the proud industrial and coastal communities which were, in living memory, the places which powered the country, have been utterly neglected, causing good jobs to flood out and not return.

Ms Nandy added the Government’s plan to level up the country was simply “tinkering with Whitehall structures and recycling old announcements”.

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She said: “Labour in government would invest £28 billion each year in green projects across the country, creating more jobs and apprenticeships in industrial and coastal towns.

“A Labour government would build good jobs in every community and win the global race to create the green jobs of the future in Britain.”

A Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities spokesperson said: “Our landmark Levelling Up White Paper sets out a blueprint for how we will reverse this country’s geographical inequalities, spread opportunity and transform communities across the UK.

“It is underpinned by 12 ambitious, targeted, measurable and time-bound missions over 10 years, that will be tracked annually and on which the Government will be held to account.

“We will generate better-paid, higher-skilled jobs and transform the economies of the UK including the north of England through transformative investments in research and development.”