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Government 'denying' North-South divide

Date 6 Aug 2007

Ten years of Labour Government has failed to close the gap in prosperity between north and south, according to new research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) to be published in October.

ippr north’s report cites Government figures that measure the gap between regions. These figures show that since 1997, the North East, the North West, Yorkshire and Humberside and the Midlands have all moved further away from the national average, on the typical measure of output per head (known as ‘Gross Value Added’). Over the same period, London has outpaced the rest of Britain.

The report says that current Government targets have led to too little attention and resources going into addressing the north-south divide.

Sue Stirling, Director of ippr north, said: "The Government needs to get real on the north-south divide. At the moment, it is in denial. The Government has not explicitly targeted the gap between rich and poor, nor the gap between north and south. As a result, the work of Labour’s Regional Development Agencies has only succeeded in reducing the north’s relative decline. "The standard Government line on the north-south divide is that inequalities within regions are as dramatic as those between regions. This is true but just because you deal with inequalities within regions it does not mean you should ignore inequalities between regions."

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