The government must “think big” and invest more resources if they are serious about solving the North South divide, an independent inquiry has said.
Speaking at the UK2070 Commission Report Launch, which was held at the University of Salford today in MediaCity, Lord Kerslake said that a further £200 billion ought to be invested into disadvantaged parts of the UK over the next twenty years.
In the latest report issued today at the launch, it states that “an over-centralised system”, alongside short term planning, resulted in nation wide inequalities.
Lord Kerslake, former head of the civil service and chairman of the commission, further added that: “Many people in Britain feel left behind by growth elsewhere and that has contributed to an acrimonious debate about Europe.
We now face a decade of potential disruption – leaving the European Union, confronting the impact of climate change and adjusting to the fourth industrial revolution.”
The report is calling on the government to sign up to a ‘declaration of intent’.
This would allow regional inequalities to be placed at the heart of all policy making – including reviewing the use of so-called ‘green book’ spending decisions in the Treasury, which have been criticised for chasing existing growth, resulting in widening divides between the north and south.
The report is being supported by a number of independently elected mayors, with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, announcing his support today.
He strongly urged other leaders to join him in signing the declaration.
“I’ve signed the declaration and I challenge the prime minister to do the same. He’s the person who has been talking about levelling up the North, so I hope he means what he says.
“Lord Kerslake has given him a a blueprint, so they won’t have to do any work.
“They should just implement this because it is the right plan and it will begin to change the country for the better.
“I think the next few decades will be great for the North, and this report comes at the best possible political moment.”