THE shocking degree of inequality that Yorkshire is suffering as a result of the North-South divide is laid bare today, and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
It is completely unacceptable in the Britain of the 21st century that somebody living in Hull is likely to die earlier than a citizen of Turkey, Slovakia or Romania. Nor is it tolerable that there is a disparity of income of £48,000 between the richest and poorest parts of our country.
The findings of IPPR North’s study into regional inequality make for disturbing and depressing reading. Every person living in Yorkshire has £541 a year less spent on them than somebody in London, and successive governments have allowed Britain to become the most regionally divided country of its size.
This has to be brought to an end. There can be no possible justification for treating the North with its population of 15 million people – approaching a quarter of the country’s total – as an afterthought in economic planning and policy. It amounts to institutional neglect of each of those people, whether young or old, by governments of whatever political stripe which are elected to serve the entire country with fairness and equality.
Coming in the wake of the agenda-setting Power Up The North campaign being run by The Yorkshire Post and up to 40 rival titles, the IPPR is right to point out that devolving powers to the regions is a key step towards ending the unfairness. Areas with elected mayors are making faster progress than Yorkshire, and our region must be granted the deal which has long been sought. As such, the incoming Government must end the foot-dragging and obstructiveness over the One Yorkshire devolution proposal which is backed across the county. Additionally, it must end the North-South divide once and for all and grant our region fair funding at the very least.