Published: 24th Jul 2012

I was at a ‘think tank’ dinner last week on the ‘Westminster bubble’. It was in Soho! Nevertheless, a good meal and conversation was had. Inevitably we got onto the north/south divide. Many around the table felt it was getting worse. I agree. However, it is being surpassed by something much worse. For 80 years, the ‘regional question’ was inadequately tackled. From 1999 to their abolition in 2012, the regional development agencies tinkered with the economic output gap between the regions, but it was never enough to check the extent to which the successful post-industrial areas got richer, whilst the old industrial areas got poorer. The failure to tackle this national systemic economic issue then, has now been coupled to national economic recession and cuts to the welfare state. This has spawned deeper local social and economic divisions. We may well look back on the north/south divide as a walk … (To read the full article, subscribe below)