Conservative promises to build a Northern Powerhouse lay in tatters today after new research found spending in the north of England has fallen by £6.3 billion while the south-east and south-west of England have seen an increase of £3.2 billion since 2009-10.
Analysis of official figures by thinktank IPPR North showed that the north of England continued to see bigger cuts in public spending than any other region.
Spending per head in London has increased by twice as much as spending in the north – £326 per head in London, compared with £146 per head in the north – since the launch of George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse initiative in 2014.
The report warned that, despite some progress, the government initiative had not moved beyond its original focus on increased productivity and transport investment.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told the Guardian: “Almost five years after the government promised us a northern powerhouse, we learn that public spending in the north has fallen while rising in the south.
“This has got to stop and it is time that the north came to the front of the queue for public investment”
Report author Luke Raikes said the government has “deprioritised the northern powerhouse agenda” in his assessment of the results, saying it is in the national interest that the north is allowed to thrive.
Investment in education, skills and health was cited as being key to growth in the region. Initiatives to tackle poverty must also be called upon, with as many as 2 million adults and 1 million children living below the line in the north.
Pic: Creative Commons, © tecmark.co.uk.