The UK’s regional divide is widening despite the government’s promises to “upgrade” the country, according to a Northern think tank.
ONE report published by IPPR North, the northern branch of the Institute for Public Policy Studies, said that while government rhetoric about leveling had reached “fever”, specific policy remained “elusive” and it had has delivered very little on its promise to reduce regional inequality within the UK.
Grant grant failed
The report, which compares the level of public investment in London and the South East with that of the North, has criticized some of the government’s promises regarding “new coins”, the report said. Time.
Significant new funds, such as the “Upgrade Fund”, while “welcome”, represent only £32 per person investment in the North of England, compared with a drop of £413 per person in annual council service spending compared to the previous decade.
Likewise, the £2 billion ‘Commonwealth Fund’, designed to replace European Union funding lost due to Brexit, is set to provide 40 shortfall in funding. % for the period 2022-2025, compared to funding that would have been provided by the European Union.
The report also aimed to remove the eastern leg of the HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds, and downgraded the high-speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester, which is said to be a prime example of the “trend of over-dealing and over-distributing in leveling”.
The IPPR North report drew attention to the income gap between the North of England and the rest of the country at “all levels of assessment”, and said closing the gap was “critical” to address growing economic inequalities.
According to the report, the scale of investment needed to challenge the UK’s regional inequalities is comparable to that of German reunification – and it has reached out to the country to look at how German governments has rebalanced the economy since 1990, “where successive governments have spent an average of 70 billion euros a year reducing regional divisions since reunification”, the report said. Guardians.
Jonathan Webb, a senior research fellow at IPPR North, and one of the report’s authors, said: “However, we measure investment in upgrades – whether we compare it to Germany’s successful attempt at economic rebalancing or investment at the London level – it is clear that the central government simply has nowhere to go when it comes to rebalancing the economy. economic.
“Promotion will fall under the category of empty, unfulfilled promises made to people in areas like the north for a long time, if it is not backed by investment and importantly, fiscal division.”
Scary red wall
The “stark disparity” on display will only “spark concern” among Red Wall Conservative MPs that the government’s “top-of-the-line” policy is “underfunding and not delivering on promises”. of Boris Johnson in rebalancing the economy,” said The Guardian.
And Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stalled this upgrade ambition for parliament, with the Upgrade Fund capped at £4.8 billion, which critics have criticized as “a drop in the ocean after much decade of no investment and 10 years of austerity cuts. “.
The long wait Upgrading white paper is set to be rushed out at the end of the month as part of Johnson’s so-called “red meat” populist policy designed to bolster his crumbling prime minister position, reports Sunday Times this weekend. Delayed since last December, the white paper will seek to outline new policy interventions to tackle regional inequality in the UK.
But the report’s delay suggests that the government has yet to determine what the leveling means, according to IPPR North.
“That means people in the north of England have less access to the prosperity and good life that people in other parts of the country can afford,” Webb told The Times.
Upgrade Room, Housing and Community A spokesperson called the report “misleading” and said it focused only on one part of the government’s plan to upgrade regions and the North of England.
“In addition to the £4.8 billion Upgrade Fund, we are delivering a record investment of over £96 billion in infrastructure, £12 billion in affordable housing and the Prosperity Fund. Collective £2.6 billion to help rebalance opportunity across the UK.
“The government will publish a White Paper that will advance this central mission in due course.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/uk-news/955457/is-the-north-south-divide-getting-worse The North-South divide is getting worse and worse?