Boris Johnson must target Northern Rugby League Towns to win general election, says Tory think tank

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The election battlegrounds are no longer Midlands marginals like Nuneaton but Northern and Midlands towns with strong working class roots and Labour traditions, but which voted Leave and identify with economic security and social security according to a Tory think tank.

The seats to watch are Workington, Wigan, Wakefield, Castleford, Dewsbury and this is where Boris needs to win if he is to win back a majority.

Workington man they say is a white man over 45 who lives in one of England’s northern towns with a strong Rugby League tradition.These voters who backed Leave in 2016, did not go to university, and feel the country “has drifted away” from their views on economic issues say the think tank

Outward suggest five strategies for targeting these voters

Put investment in core public services ahead of personal income tax cuts. 65% of people would prefer government to prioritise spending for schools, hospitals and social care”, versus 35% who want government to “prioritise cutting income tax to let people keep more of their own money”.

Focusing on delivering higher paid and more secure work, through higher minimum wages, long-term investment in retraining, and technical education.

Empowering Britain’s regions and towns, by boosting capital investment allowances for businesses, actively building competitive industrial clusters away from London, and devolving rail, infrastructure and housing powers to cities and regional bodies.

Every region except for London believes the country has moved away from them on both economic and cultural issues. Just 6% of people in the North East say the country has moved towards their views economically and 4% closer to them on cultural issues.

Restoring a stronger sense of belonging, by boosting homeownership and taxing anti-local housing such as empty, second, and enveloped homes, introducing a form of civic national service, and letting communities take over shops, assets, football clubs and public sector land through trusts.

Finally prioritising national security, by rebuilding neighbourhood policing, introducing honest sentencing and a 40 hour training week for prisoners, and protecting strategic industries from collapse or hostile takeover.

Crime is the third highest priority of Conservative to Brexit Party switchers, behind only Brexit and Immigration. However voters marginally want a justice system that is more about rehabilitation than punishment . 58% of voters say the Government should protect national industries from international competition, even if it leads to higher prices. –

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