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2.59pm BST

The opposition parties have dismissed Boris Johnson’s levelling up speech as empty rhetoric.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, said:

For all the meaningless empty rhetoric, the fact remains that levels of poverty and inequality in the UK have risen to record levels on Boris Johnson’s watch – and planned UK government austerity cuts will make this growing Tory poverty crisis even worse.

You can’t level up by making millions of people poorer – but that is exactly what will happen as a result of Tory plans to impose a public sector pay freeze and slash universal credit by £1,040 for 6 million families.

Far from levelling up, it’s clear Boris Johnson is just making it up as he goes along.

This rambling speech does nothing for the millions of people who work hard and play by the rules but are still let down by this Conservative government. It does nothing to help the self-employed excluded from Covid support, nothing for people with unpaid caring responsibilities and nothing for children who’ve lost hours and hours of teaching time.

Boris Johnson has overseen the worst death toll in Europe and the greatest hit to any major economy.

Two years as prime minister and all we have is this empty husk of a speech that shows he has no plan for the future of our country other than pitching people and towns against each other.

2.59pm BST

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