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Power up the north

Issue no 11 - July 2019

industry 4.0

Key metrics – including on opportunity and life expectancy – show the gulf between north and south continues to widen.

The region employs more than 15 million people – around a quarter of the UK workforce – and is the UK’s largest manufacturing region.

Lord Bob Kerslake, the former Civil Service head, has suggested that the divide between London and the North is now comparable to the gulf which existed in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kerslake warned closing the gap could take 50 years.

It is estimated the region currently generates around £343 billion per year – enough for it to rank ninth in terms of size of European economies were the North to be a country.

Jonathan Walker, assistant director of policy for the North East England Chamber of Commerce says: “For decades, the North has been held back by a lack of investment in critical infrastructure and centralised decision making. Successive governments have talked about redressing the economic imbalances, but progress has been limited and frustratingly slow.” The newspaper campaign is calling for investment in education, transport, and broadband, as well as the devolution of further powers, especially over transport policy.

Walker continues, “We know this is a great place to do business. Our economic assets, industrial heritage and quality of life combine to create a business environment that is hard to beat. But we also know that this region could achieve with the right investment and support. It is time for the Government to show us that they agree.”

For decades, the North has been held back by a lack of investment in critical infrastructure and centralised decision making. Successive governments have talked about redressing the economic imbalances, but progress has been limited and frustratingly slow. 5

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