Large disparity between north and south threatens Northern Powerhouse, report warns

There is significant disparity in growth between northern and southern cities despite increased investment to develop a Northern Powerhouse, a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has warned.

The report analysed 74 cities across the UK and developed an index of ‘relative decline’ based on changes in employment rates, levels of highly-qualified workers, the number and type of full-time jobs, net migration rates and population change.

Based on this analysis, the JRF found that 10 of the UK’s top 12 struggling cities were based in the north, with no southern cities featuring in the top 24 of the index.

The report highlighted that while many of these northern cities are growing, they are growing at a rate significantly behind national levels, meaning they risk being left behind in attempts to boost prosperity in the north and develop a Northern Powerhouse.

The JRF advises that to fully achieve its potential, the Northern Powerhouse needs an economic strategy to address these underperforming cities, including a comprehensive and integrated packages of long-term policies that works to address poverty in cities.

In order to achieve this, the report calls upon city leaders to ‘harness their new economic powers’ to create more opportunities for people in these areas who have previously been left behind.

Josh Stott, policy and research manager at the JRF, said: "Britain has the potential to become a more prosperous country, with George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse playing a key role in rebalancing the economy.

"But it must reach all parts of the north to ensure prosperity is shared. To rebalance the economy and ensure local growth provides opportunity for all households, the Treasury needs to ensure areas outside of core cities are not left behind.

"City leaders, with a new suite of powers at their disposal, must also show leadership to do their part to ensure growth and prosperity is shared by all."

The top 12 struggling cities, as identified in the report, are: Rochdale, Burnley, Bolton, Blackburn, Hull, Grimsby, Dundee, Middlesbrough, Bradford, Blackpool, Stoke and Wigan.

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