BARROW'S MP has been selected as part of a new taskforce set up to 'spearhead' a regional equality reduction effort.

Yesterday, the 'Levelling Up Taskforce' drive was launched.

The stated aim of the group - made up of Conservative MPs including Carlisle MP, John Stevenson, and a number of other newly-elected lawmakers in former 'Red Wall' seats - is to close the economic gap in Britain's regions.

Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell said yesterday that he was 'delighted' to be part of the initiative.

However, the district Labour Party branch questioned the Conservatives' record on poverty and boosting employment in the area.

Responding to yesterday's announcement, Barrow and Furness Labour Party spokesperson, Frank Cassidy, said: “I strongly suspect that this announcement will be met with some scepticism.

“It comes amid a general acceptance that the Conservative government has spectacularly mishandled the biggest public health crisis of modern times – and that of course includes the exams fiasco.

“It also arrives just days after fresh opinion polls show the Tories to have surrendered the massive lead they once held over Labour.

“Anyone who really wants to know if the Tories are addressing inequality or making things better for some of our poorer neighbours need only to ask the volunteers who staff our foodbanks – or they could speak to people who were involved in the preparation and delivery of provisions to local households at the height of the pandemic.

“This announcement will be viewed by many as just another routine piece of empty Tory rhetoric that will do nothing to help those people in our communities who are struggling to get by.”