It has long been recognised that there is a north/south divide in the UK.
Although government spending on public services is roughly even across the country, many businesses are choosing to set up in the south. This creates a large wealth divide and those living in the north of the country experience significantly different social and economic conditions from those living in the south.
The Centre for Cities is a charity that measures economic growth and change in 64 UK cities. In 2015, it found that for every 12 jobs created since 2004 in southern cities, only one was created in cities elsewhere. Cities like London and Milton Keynes in the south have seen a large growth in the number of jobs available, whilst Blackpool and Hull in the north have seen a large decline.
|The north||The south|
|Economic activity||Heavily dependent on the public sector.||Private sector dominant.|
|Incomes||Lower incomes, eg in 2011 the average household gross disposable income was £13,560 in the NE region. Benefits make up higher proportion of incomes.||Higher incomes, eg in 2011 the average household gross disposable income was £20,509 in London.|
|Unemployment||Higher unemployment, eg May 2015 - NE region = 7.7%. Pockets of extremely high unemployment, eg Glasgow.||Lower unemployment, eg SE region = 4.4%.|
|House prices||Lower house prices. Average prices in NE = £154,000.||Higher house prices. Average price in SE = £305,000.|
|Education||Pupils from the north are less likely to achieve straight A grades at A level, and are less likely to go on to study at Oxford or Cambridge universities.||Pupils in the south are 40% more likely to achieve top GCSE grades.|
|Life expectancy||Lower life expectancy, eg life expectancy in Manchester 2013 = 71.8 (male) and 77.8 (female).||Higher life expectancy, eg male life expectancy in East Dorset 2013 = 83.1, female life expectancy in Kensington and Chelsea = 84.7.|
Resolving regional differences is a difficult task. The government have agreed devolution measures, which gives additional power and money to councils in the north. An example is the election of the Mayor for Greater Manchester, who has been given £1 billion of devolved funds to spend on improving the city and attracting new businesses. This will mean that fewer decisions about the city are made in London and more decisions are made by the people of Manchester. Other local councils are demanding the same control.
Some people believe that professional jobs need to be created in the north. The popularity of universities such as Manchester and Leeds has encouraged professionals to settle in the north. The relocation of some businesses and organisations can also help. For example, the BBC built MediaCityUK in Manchester and moved many of its offices there in 2011. Since then, the multiplier effect has led to other companies locating close by, eg the Holiday Inn.