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A make-or-break autumn for provincial Britain—and Boris Johnson

The ambition to “level up” is real, but will come to nothing unless Whitehall lets go—not least of the levers of revenue

By Paul Collier  

EDDIE KEOGH/WPA Rota/Press Association Images

The decisions to be taken this autumn will determine the course of British history. Down one path is reversion to business as usual, down the other is the transformation of provincial Britain—the “levelling-up” agenda across the regions for which the government was elected.

Boris Johnson, newly returned to Downing Street with strong support from England’s industrial rust belt last year, has made clear which path he aspires to take: his aim is…

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