North loses out on infrastructure spending

12 Nov 14

The North of England should have more infrastructure spending and devolved power to fulfill its potential, a think-tank has said.

IPPR North has renewed calls for increased infrastructure spending in the North, devolution of power to city and county regions, and strengthened local democracy so that the North can fulfil its untapped potential.

In a research report published today, the think-tank says that the North contributes more to the economy than devolved nations, but is growing more slowly.

The region is losing out on investment because government spending is skewed towards London and Scotland, IPPR North claims.

According to the report, the North contributes 19% to the national economy, compared to 13% for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

However, in the decade to 2012 the North grew at a slower rate with devolved nations spending much more per head on boosting their economies through research & development, skills and infrastructure investment, the report says.

Regions like the Northeast lose out on transport investment, with planned spending per head at £245 compared to London’s £4,893, the report says.

Although manufacturing still makes the largest contribution to the northern economy, property and financial and professional services are new business growth areas. Northern universities have pioneered major developments in technologies such as graphene and biomedicine, the think-tank highlighted.

The report also notes other success stories in the North of England over the last 10 years, including economic growth of more than 40% in Cumbria, Cheshire and Warrington, Greater Manchester and Sheffield. Since 2010, jobs in Sheffield have increased by 4.0% and in Greater Manchester by 3.4%, it says.

IPPR North director Ed Cox said that there was now clear evidence that more closely connected northern cities will bring significant economic benefits for the whole nation.

‘In 10 years’ time, with the right leadership and with a revitalised local democracy, there is no reason why the north of England shouldn’t take its place alongside the most prosperous Northern European regions. But if that is to happen more needs to be done to develop good policy ideas which can be taken up by the politicians,’ he said.


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