North of England sees lowest investment in advanced economies, think tank says

North of England sees lowest investment in advanced economies, think tank says
North of England sees lowest investment in advanced economies, think tank says

The north of England receives one of the lowest levels of investment among advanced economies, a think tank has said.

Greece would be the only OECD country to see less public and private investment, if the region were a country, according to a new IPPR North report.

The researchers found the UK as a whole ranks 35th out of 38 OECD countries in terms of receiving the least investment.

Slovakia, Poland and Hungary all receive more investment than the UK.

If the OECD average were applied to the UK from 2017 to 2020, an additional £397 billion would have been invested.

The report says the UK and the North are held back by “vast inequalities” and “systematic underinvestment” in research and development, social infrastructure and transport.

The extent of regional disparities are shown in the report, including how productivity is around £7 per hour worked in the North lower than the England average, while hourly pay is £1 lower, £60 to rest of England.

Northern Mayors, Upgrade Secretary Michael Gove and Labour’s Shadow Upgrade Secretary Lisa Nandy are all set to attend the Northern Convention today – a gathering of business, political and civic leaders of the region.

Political leaders in the region will argue that leveling North and South should be ‘hard-wired’ into UK law as they call for longer-term funding as opposed to the current tender system.

Ms Nandy will accuse the Tories of ‘writing off’ areas that once fueled Britain’s economy, while Mr Gove will say his government has carried out ‘the biggest transfer of power from Whitehall to local leaders across England in the modern era”.

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Only Greece has less investment than the North outside the OECD countries

Read more: Sunak denies favoring the South by leveling allowances

Marcus Johns, IPPR researcher and author of the report, said: “Of all the advanced economies in the world, ours is the most regionally divided and getting worse – the North is at the end of these divisions. and it is an obstacle to prosperity.

“But what is even more unacceptable is that our country is purposely divided. It is the result of decisions.

“The forces of the North are national forces. Northern prosperity can be national prosperity.

“It is up to government to unlock this potential, recognizing that it needs to change and enabling well-resourced local government to coordinate and deliver long-term local visions for change.”

The report highlights other places around the world that were struggling but have recovered their economy, such as Leipzig in Germany, which is now the fastest growing city in Europe thanks to industry and investment. .

IPPR North Director Zoe Billingham said: “The international evidence is clear – governments that relinquish power and engage positively with local places can successfully bring themselves up to speed.

“Political leaders must ‘zoom out’ and learn from our international neighbors to achieve regional growth and reduce our painful divisions. We know that private investment follows public investment.”

After announcing the latest recipients of the government’s leveling fund last week, ministers have been accused of favoring wealthier south-east seats at the expense of deprived areas in the north.

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Leipzig were struggling but the investment saw its fortunes turn. Photo: AP

A government spokesman said: “This report fundamentally misrepresents the clear steps we are taking to level the region and we are committed to spreading the opportunities across the UK, including the north of England.

“This includes investing £3.19billion through our leveling funds for regeneration, transport and cultural projects and £3billion to transform local transport networks.

“The government has also helped secure foreign investment, such as Credera in Manchester, Nissan in Sunderland and Equinor in the Port of Tyne, creating thousands of highly skilled jobs.

“We also launched Freeports in Teeside, Liverpool City and the Humber to boost investment and signed new devolution deals in York and North Yorkshire and the North East, empowering local leaders.”

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