North/South divide continues to dominate Britain’s economy

The UK economy remains greatly divided, with the chasm widening between the north and south of the country.

New statistics, published by the Centre for Cities think tank, reveal that an “enormous gap” between Britain’s best and worst performing cities had opened up over the course of the decade.

This is most notable when examining where jobs are being created. At present, there are 12 new positions becoming available in the towns and cities of southern England for every one that is generated elsewhere in Britain.

The Outlook 2015 report will lead to new concerns about the risks of a two-tier economy emerging, where communities in the south are far more likely to prosper and flourish.

Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, accused the Government of “paying lip service” to the north and said there had been no genuine attempts to rebalance the country’s economic geography.

“The reality is we’ve been a northern punchbag in this Parliament and when people in my constituency won’t open a shop because the business rates are three times more than the rent then you know ministers are not on the side of enterprise,” said the Labour backbencher.

Andrew Carter, acting chief executive of Centre for Cities, said that without a long-term strategy the divisions would only continue to grow.

“Cities need long-term funding and strategic planning, and policies that go to the heart of addressing the key drivers of economic growth – including transport, planning, skills and housing,” he said.

Chancellor George Osborne recently spoke of his hopes to build “northern powerhouses” to rival London. Greater devolution to city regions and the construction of the HS2 rail link are thought to be the cornerstones of this bold new strategy.

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