In a blow to the government’s Northern Powerhouse project, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) criticises “self-defeating austerity”.

The IPPR’s annual State of the North report highlights the increasing North-South divide and examines the Northern Powerhouse, a project to boost the North championed by former Chancellor George Osborne since 2014.

It also points out major health problems in Salford, with some areas in the city having the lowest life expectancy in the country.

Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North, said: “The point we’re trying to make today is that now is the time for the Northern Powerhouse to step up and become a more comprehensive programme of policies.

“I think that austerity has been damaging to the North’s potential and local authorities have been disproportionately affected in the North which is really unhelpful.

“Economic growth is only useful if we can use it improve the quality of people’s lives.”

The report slammed the government for giving London more than double the amount of infrastructure spending than the whole of the North.

Total public spending in the North has fallen by £6.3bn between 2009/10 and 2016/17, but funding for the South East and South West has been boosted by £3.9bn in the same period.

Salford City Council has been hit with cuts since 2010 and aims to reduce their budget by £16m next year, with planned nursery closures looming.

On Salford’s role in the Northern Powerhouse, Longlands said: “Salford has got a great opportunity to be part of the Manchester city-region.

“It has a great opportunity to connect with opportunities that exist both in Salford and elsewhere.

“It’s important to understand the important role that Salford plays in providing a home to people in the area and providing some fantastic assets like the university and the arts.”

Salford Now contacted the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government for a response, but they declined to comment.

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