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Boris Johnson quotes Bible in levelling-up speech

by Cara Bentley

The Prime Minister has referenced Matthew's gospel in his levelling-up speech to argue that people all across the country should be invested in to get better equality of opportunity. 

Boris Johnson stood on a platform on 'levelling-up' the country for the 2019 General Election and proceeded to win seats that had been Labour for decades, arguably because of his promise to improve the lives of people in regions which had not seen the same growth as large cities. 

On Thursday, he announced how he plans to improve the opportunities for people in parts of the country which have fewer job prospects. 

Speaking about the importance of investing, he said funding has previously gone to areas which are already well-off. 

Mr Johnson said: "To borrow a biblical comparison, governments have created a sort of Matthew affect  - "to him that hath shall be given," so you end up investing in areas where house prices are already high where transport is already congested and by turbo charging those areas, especially in London the south east, you drive prices even higher and you force more and more people to move to the same expensive areas."

The quote is from Matthew 25:29, from the parable of the talents, which speaks of how a master gave his servants various quantities of money and most of them invest it and get the same back in return, except one who is rebuked for hiding his money and not making any more. It is often interpreted as a call to invest whatever you have - money, skills or time - for the sake of Jesus Christ, our master. 

The Prime Minister used it to suggest it was pointless to keep investing in the same areas, saying the result is that commutes are longer, people spend less time with their kids and that houses are built in the same areas but with less local jobs to go around. 

He said he wants to relieve the pressure in areas that are "overheating" but that it was not "bad for London", saying it is not "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

He pledged to invest in transport, broadband and infrastructure in towns and cities that have been omitted from long-term plans. 

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