IT IS the absolute right of every child to have the best chance in life to build a successful and rewarding career, which makes the disadvantages faced by young people in the north a matter that demands urgent action.
Today’s report by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, makes for disturbing reading, outlining as it does a worrying – and grossly unfair – north-south divide when it comes to jobs and pay.
That such a divide exists in economic terms has long been apparent, and it is a matter of both frustration and justifiable anger in this region that successive governments have done too little to close the gap by failing to invest resources in the north.
But when such a divide affects the prospects and futures of the young because of a toxic combination of entrenched deprivation and poor schools, there can be no excuse for this unfairness to be tolerated any longer.
Ms Longfield makes the telling point that children should be at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse. Equally important, she is clear that the opportunities offered by devolution will be of immense benefit in improving the life chances of children.
The case for a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal is already unarguable. That it would also help the young only makes it more forceful, and the Government should act without delay on giving this region what it demands and deserves.
In the interim, Ms Longfield’s suggestion that leading cultural institutions, like Bradford’s National Science and Media Museum, should reach out to offer children opportunities is to be applauded.
Her report is thorough, far-reaching and important, exposing as it does a fundamental problem for the north. This disadvantage simply cannot be allowed to continue. The Government must heed Ms Longfield and take immediate action, for the sake of the children.