Geographic Inequality of Opportunity

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 23rd September 2020.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

What steps she is taking to tackle geographic inequality of opportunity in the UK.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

What steps she is taking to tackle geographic inequality of opportunity in the UK.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

We are determined to tackle geographic inequality and level up our country. The Equality Hub will look at the data to identify the real barriers that are holding people back.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

Does my right hon. Friend agree that geographical inequality has been a neglected strand of the equality agenda?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

I very much agree. Often, the differences in wages or employment are greater between regions of the UK than they are in other types of inequality. For example, there is a 28% gap in weekly pay between the north-east and London.

Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. She will be aware that people in Cornwall have for far too long faced a disadvantage of opportunity because of our geography. Will she ensure that among all the loud political noise at this time, levelling up geographical inequalities will remain at the heart of this Government’s agenda?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

I agree. It is vital that we level up across the country and make sure that someone’s postcode does not dictate their life chances. As I saw when visiting Cornwall’s growing lithium mining industry last week, there are real opportunities to level up and help Cornwall to grow economically and benefit all the people of that great county.