Industrial Britain Being Left Behind

By Nathan Lee, Business Correspondent 

A report released today has revealed that older industrial areas of Britain are being left behind in the current national economic upturn.

The Industrial Communities Alliance has published research comparing the trends in older industrial Britain with the GB average and with London and the South East, finding that stark differences have emerged in regards to employment, unemployment and earnings since the end of the recession. The report found that by the end of 2013, employment in London and the South East was 540,000 higher than in 2009 but in older industrial Britain it was still 70,000 lower.

Shockingly, the rate of growth in private sector employment in older industrial Britain was only one-tenth of the rate in London and the South East. Since 2014 employment in older industrial Britain has been pushed above recession levels, but growth in these areas continues to lag behind with much of the new employment deals faller under part-time and self-employed (often low paid and insecure) categories.

That means that average earnings in older industrial Britain are still £110 a week less than in London and the South East.

Professor Steve Fothergill, Director of the Industrial Communities Alliance, said: “Many people have suspected that the recovery is primarily a ‘London & the South East’ phenomenon. The new report is the first to confirm that this is indeed the case.

“Long-established divides in economic well-being are widening still further, with London and its immediate hinterland pulling away from the rest of the country and in particular from older industrial Britain – communities hit by years of job loss long before the recession.”

Cllr Terry O’Neill, National Chair of the Industrial Communities Alliance and Leader of Warrington BC, added: “During the recession there were assurances that “we’re all in this together”. In fact this was never the case. What is clear from this report is that as the UK economy has gradually returned to growth we are still being left behind.”


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