Ruth Mitchell

Extra powers could bridge regional divide

Many are encouraging the government to give more control to Northern cities and regions in a bid to bridge the north south economic divide.

The BBC reports that the North of England not doing as well as other parts of the country in key areas, after a group from IPPR North looked at figures for business start-ups and educational qualifications.

The North East has the lowest business start up rate in the UK with 5.7 per 1000 people, in comparison with the national average of 7.9. Spending per head on science and technology was only £83, in comparison with London, where £155 was spent.

IPPR North is now calling for the North to be given more autonomy, and powers similar to those given to the devolved nations. They are also attempting to get the Localism Bill amended to give other cities the same powers as the ones being offered to London.

However, all is not lost as a new government ministerial group is now going to consider how to promote economic growth in England’s core cities – which includes Newcastle. This project could see the cities deciding on whether they want an elected mayor, and eventually could result in them gaining more powers.

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