Narrowing the North-South divide: survey shows people think Brexit's the answer

The majority of UK households believe that the North-South divide is wider than it was five years ago but that Brexit will remedy the split, according to a new survey from think-tank Policy North.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 11:30 am
The Northern Powerhouse was geared to narrow the North-South divide: Tim Wood, Transport for the North Northern Powerhouse Rail Director.

Despite governmental initiatives aimed to reduce the growing economic divide between the North and the South such as the Northern Powerhouse, just 6% of respondents to the survey believed that the North-South divide has narrowed in any way since 2013, with just 5% believing the gap has narrowed in the North East, 4% on Humberside, and a measly 3% in the North West.

On the other hand, 50% of people in the North believe that the dichotomy has grown, compared to 41% nationally, with a further 31% of the 2,000 people questioned believing that Brexit will be a catalyst to rebalancing the UK economy along with the elected city mayors deciding spending priorities (13%) and the the Northern Powerhouse project (12%).

Only greater government spending on transport and infrastructure was deemed to be have a larger influence (40%) on the North-South divide than Brexit, with many respondents blaming a lack of opportunities to progress careers and earn more in the North and soaring house prices in the South as key features of the social partition.

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“The north-south divide is very real and remains a big challenge to crack," said Policy North chairman, Stephen Purvis. "Manchester has shown that with devolved powers comes real cash and the ability for local leaders to set their own priorities, but there is also an east-west divide.

"We need an equally strong, outward looking, global vision for the North East and Yorkshire, that is not simply built around slightly quicker journey times between regions," he added.