PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has received a mixed response to his keynote speech on 'levelling up' parts of the nation.

The PM aid local leaders in towns should be "given the tools to make things happen for their communities" in a speech on infrastructure, education and regeneration.

And Mr Johnson promised that boosting the North will not be to the detriment of the South, as he tried to keep traditional Tory voters onside while courting former Labour supporters in the North and Midlands.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer dismissed the speech as "all soundbites and no substance".

Promotional material sent out by Number 10 ahead of the speech repeated previously announced pledges for £22.6m for Bolton's regeneration and £13.3m for Farnworth from the Future High Streets Fund.

Mr Johnson described his levelling-up vision as an attempt to fix the UK's "unbalanced economy", which he said means "for too many people geography turns out to be destiny". Further details are expected in a policy paper this autumn.

Later Metro Mayor Andy Burnham said: "Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, has responded to the Prime Minister's Levelling Up speech (15 July).

Andy Burnham said: "Much of the Prime Minister’s analysis was right and I don’t in any way disagree with it - far too often people’s life chances and health are still determined by the postcode they are born in.

"But what was missing was credible action that would actually change the reality of people’s lives here in the North of England. You don’t level up by throwing money at towns here and there and creating a chewing gum taskforce.

"You do it by backing city-regions like ours to create a London-style transport network with London level fares that will unite towns and cities and transform the life chances of the 2.8 million people who live here.

"I urge the Government to give us the power and resources we need and make levelling up a reality here in the North."

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership,urged the PM to consider the introduction of more Metro Mayors.

He added: "Local leadership must be a core principle of levelling up and county deals are a promising sign the government intends to decentralise more powers further."

Mr Murison also questioned what had happened to an integrated rail plan.