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Evening Standard Comment: Boris Johnson is levelling down | Make it safer to be a woman

Christian Adams
L

ast Thursday, as Boris Johnson prepared to make a speech in Coventry on levelling up, we warned in these pages about the importance of paying close attention to what politicians do, not simply what they say. Regrettably, this old adage has once again proved its worth.

A new report from London Higher warns the decision to remove the London weighting from university funding will destabilise higher education in the capital.

These cuts further crystallise fears that levelling up, far from being a jam-spreading operation as the Prime Minister claims, will in reality scoop it away from the capital.

Losses of £64million to the teaching grant are a huge blow to our higher education centres and place London’s universities at a clear disadvantage.

And given the importance of our city’s higher education sector, this policy will damage the country as a whole. Cuts of this nature drive a horse and cart through the idea that levelling up does not mean levelling London down.

This time, it is students and universities. Where will the axe fall next?

Make women safer

Harassment of and violence against women is a daily reality. So we are encouraged to see the Home Secretary turn her focus away from a war with the England football team and towards how to better protect women and girls.

From physical intimidation in public to allegations of “rape culture” in education settings, a review is an opportunity to make women and girls safer.

It is not simply about criminalising cat-calling — a media red herring in the context of the daily threats to safety and life women face.

Our response must be laser-focused on addressing the hatred against women that still pervades public life.