Council of the North call

A ‘COUNCIL of the North’ is required to champion the region’s interests at a time when government cuts are likely to extend the economic divide with the South, according to a report published today (MON).

England's three northern regions - the North-East, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West - will be disproportionately affected by funding cuts, leading to more job losses than the private sector can replace, it warns.

The study by the Smith Institute, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Newcastle University's Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies sets out a number of recommendations in 'Re-balancing the economy: prospects for the North': * A Council of the North involving business, universities and the community and voluntary sector to argue the North’s case in Westminster and Brussels and develop a clear northern brand * Local planning authorities across the three regions to develop strategic plan for key housing and employment developments, infrastructure and skills with government to consider the creation of a northern infrastructure fund * A Northern perspective of the High Speed 2 rail project which may have less impact that improving links across and within the North as part of an integrated transport plan, including an east-west ‘Crossrail for the North Report author, Michael Ward, warns that in the current economic conditions the gap between and within regions is likely to widen with serious economic and social consequences.

Analysis of the government’s spending review indicates the North will be “disproportionately hit by spending cuts and job losses.”

He adds: “Without a fairer allocation of resources, stronger delivery structures, and a lasting commitment to tackling interregional disparities, the prospects for the North look worryingly bleak.”

In abolishing Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) - such as One North East and Yorkshire Forward - the government has failed to build on their successes and the North will suffer disproportionately as a result.

It argues the new Regional Growth Fund is limited and the RDAs replacements, the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), will not offset the loss of funds and support from the RDAs.

The report suggests that many of the government policies, including the New Homes Bonus and impending business rate reforms, are likely to favour the South over the North.

It calls for: * Greater support for declining industrial areas, new grants for business investment schemes, new job creation programmes aimed at Incapacity Benefit claimants and more relocation of public sector jobs to the North - such as the head offices of the new Big Society Bank and Green Infrastructure Bank * Government to properly fund LEPs and ensure the LEP network covers the whole of the North * A reassessment of the Barnett formula, which leads to higher Government spending in Scotland than in the North-East Paul Hackett, Director, Smith Institute, said: "This report is a wake-up call to Government."

Comments (9)

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8:42am Mon 14 Mar 11

Madadrian says...

It's about time we built a big wall from the Mersey to the Humber and declared an independent Northumbria
It's about time we built a big wall from the Mersey to the Humber and declared an independent Northumbria Madadrian

12:46pm Mon 14 Mar 11

Wyrdtimes says...

What the north of England needs is what the rest of England needs - a parliament that works in the interests of England as a whole and that spends English taxes on England.

The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish all benefit from having their own governments working in the interests of those nations - England has the UK government working in the UK interests.

The last thing the people of England need is for England to be balkanised into competing regions. We need our own parliament back.
What the north of England needs is what the rest of England needs - a parliament that works in the interests of England as a whole and that spends English taxes on England. The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish all benefit from having their own governments working in the interests of those nations - England has the UK government working in the UK interests. The last thing the people of England need is for England to be balkanised into competing regions. We need our own parliament back. Wyrdtimes

1:29pm Mon 14 Mar 11

Tartanrock says...

There used to be a Council of the North until the Long Parliament and it might well be useful to revive it with a brief to reduce the North-South divide in England but this would be premature at the moment as England does not govern itself. It should be for the English MPs alone to decide how the divide should be bridged and that cannot be done until England has its own Parliament. It was the English Parliament that dissolved the Council of the North and it should be the English Parliament that decides whether it should be revived.
There used to be a Council of the North until the Long Parliament and it might well be useful to revive it with a brief to reduce the North-South divide in England but this would be premature at the moment as England does not govern itself. It should be for the English MPs alone to decide how the divide should be bridged and that cannot be done until England has its own Parliament. It was the English Parliament that dissolved the Council of the North and it should be the English Parliament that decides whether it should be revived. Tartanrock

2:12pm Mon 14 Mar 11

i albion says...

Just another ruse to split up England. The English, and that means the North need their own Parliament ,it was in this part of our country England came into being ,read The Venerable Bede, a great Englishman
Just another ruse to split up England. The English, and that means the North need their own Parliament ,it was in this part of our country England came into being ,read The Venerable Bede, a great Englishman i albion

5:17pm Mon 14 Mar 11

Madadrian says...

an independent Northumbria is as viable as an independent Scotland. Continuing to be ruled by Westminster is a sentence of long term poverty for the north.
an independent Northumbria is as viable as an independent Scotland. Continuing to be ruled by Westminster is a sentence of long term poverty for the north. Madadrian

6:40pm Mon 14 Mar 11

i albion says...

England hater on the starboard bow!
You can always tell when they talk of "Northumbria" and North -South divide, they hate their own country, Why? God knows.
England hater on the starboard bow! You can always tell when they talk of "Northumbria" and North -South divide, they hate their own country, Why? God knows. i albion

6:57pm Mon 14 Mar 11

stevegg says...

Did the Northeast not get this kind of opportunity about 5 years ago for a regional assembly but the people resoundingly voted against it in a referendum much to John Prescotts displeasure? I agree with wyrdtimes above, an English parliament serving Englands interests is a much better proposition.
Did the Northeast not get this kind of opportunity about 5 years ago for a regional assembly but the people resoundingly voted against it in a referendum much to John Prescotts displeasure? I agree with wyrdtimes above, an English parliament serving Englands interests is a much better proposition. stevegg

8:22pm Mon 14 Mar 11

Reiverman says...

The crass unfairness of the London based political parties displayed towards the people of the North East is fast becoming a national scandal.
Arise a New Northumbria !
The crass unfairness of the London based political parties displayed towards the people of the North East is fast becoming a national scandal. Arise a New Northumbria ! Reiverman

9:29am Tue 15 Mar 11

i albion says...

Reiverman. You tried all this with the dreadful "Regional Assemblies" we beat you then, live with it!
Reiverman. You tried all this with the dreadful "Regional Assemblies" we beat you then, live with it! i albion

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