Yorkshire mayor asks Chancellor to 'tackle North South divide' with funding

A Yorkshire mayor has called on the Chancellor to “finally tackle to scandalous North-South divide which impoverishes us all” and ensure more and “reverse the effective cut” in funding to northern regions.

Dan Jarvis said that the allocation of the Shared Prosperity Fund - which is designed to replace funding from the EU - will “not match” what the regions were previously receiving and amounts to a “broken manifesto commitment”.

He said that the “SPF will not be worth a total of over £637m for three years for the north”, whereas under previous models “would have been over £968m”.

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“That is a 34 per cent average cut for the north of England,” he added.

Outgoing Mayor of South Yorkshire Dan Jarvis pictured in November 2021

“Which has directly translated into substantial per capita cuts across Yorkshire for economic development compared to under the Cameron and May government period.”

Last month, the Communities Secretary Michael Gove announced England will receive £1.588bn, Wales £585m, Scotland £212m and Northern Ireland £127m.

The Government said it could regenerate rundown high streets, fight anti-social behaviour and crime, or help more people into decent jobs.

At the time, The Institute for Public Policy Research think tank said its analysis confirmed an annual SPF of £873m on average, compared with average annual EU funds of £1.5 billion between 2014 and 2020 – a 43 per cent cut.

Outgoing Mayor of South Yorkshire Mr Jarvis said in a statement, also supported by his West Yorkshire counterpart Tracy Brabin: “Talk of levelling up without matching the funding levels of your predecessors is a betrayal of people and places which have waited so long for change.

“It will seriously curtail our ambition to build a prosperous, productive North that adds to national wealth – to finally tackle the scandalous North-South divide which impoverishes us all.

“The Treasury has an opportunity to put this right now before permanent economic damage is done.

“I ask that you take it.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “We stand fully behind this call from Dan Jarvis.

“The Levelling Up White Paper set out a comprehensive strategy for tackling long-standing regional inequalities but development funding cuts will seriously water down these ambitions.

“It means less investment in skills and R&D, less support for small businesses, less opportunity - all of which is vital to raising productivity in Yorkshire and the north of England.”

The Government has previously said the funding has been allocated using a formula which takes into account population data and a “broadly based measure of need”.

A Government spokesperson said: “Our UK Shared Prosperity Fund will match EU funding in Yorkshire.

“Every place in the UK is receiving a share of the fund and funding will ramp up to £1.5bn per year by March 2025.”