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- Published: March 1, 2011
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Without strong delivery structures, sufficient resources and a lasting commitment to tackling inter-regional disparities, the prospects for the North look worryingly bleak, according to research published today by the Smith Institute in association with PwC and Newcastle University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.
‘Rebalancing the economy: prospects for the North’ provides a detailed analysis of past and present policies to tackle regional inequalities. Based on discussions with 150 stakeholders across England’s three northern regions, the report concludes that the North is being disproportionately hit by spending cuts and job losses, and that there is a risk that the private sector may not be able to compensate for this quickly or fully.
It also recommends creating a new voice for the North in the form of a strategic ‘Council for the North’, involving councils, business, universities and other stakeholders. The Council could develop a strategic plan for the North, like the London Plan, and prioritise housing and transport investments.
The report sets out the case for greater government support for the North, including new grants for business investment in declining industrial areas, a northern infrastructure fund, and locating the new Big Society Bank in the North.