The Think Tank, The Institute for Progressive Policy Research (IPPR) have released their 2020 State of the North report, which aims to assess how the North measures up when compared to national averages as well as other regions.
The report shows that the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated problems that previously existed, with the findings showing that inequality exists across the North and across areas such as education, income and employment.
In the report, IPPR show that the amount of jobs per person in the North is lower than the national average, sitting at just 0.7 jobs per person when compared with 0.74 across England as a whole.
This has lead to increased unemployment across the North with 657,900 people claiming unemployment-related benefits in October 2020 alone, with unemployment levels being the worst in cities and coastal towns such as Blackpool, Middlesbrough and Hull.
IPPR are urging Government to use this report as a wake up called to deliver on their promises to level up the North, which with the right investment, has the potential to fulfil the promises themselves.
Director of IPPR North, Sarah Longlands said:
“The government was elected on a promise to ‘level up’ places like the North. But one year on, they don’t have a plan to reduce inequalities between and within regions in England, and the inadequate, centrally controlled, competitive ‘levelling up fund’ announced in the spending review simply won’t cut it.
”Our regional divides are severe and growing, we face a climate emergency, and Brexit is just around the corner, so a recovery from Covid-19 that simply restores the status-quo- which has failed so many Northerners- would be unacceptable.
“We need to challenge old, reductive assumptions about our economy because they’ve failed to create the conditions for a good life for everyone in the North. In particular, we have to stop assuming that the centre knows best and commit once and for all to a clear programme of regional devolution in England. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.”