DOES Westminster realise there is life north of Watford Gap? Do they also realise that the ‘north of England’ is not the Midlands?
The Institute of Public Policy Research North said recently that £2,700 per capita is spent on transport in London, yet only £5 in the north east.
In fact the government spends more per head in London than on those in the rest of the country combined. Unbelievable, or is it?
We have talked and argued for decades about the ‘funding gap’ and the ‘north-south divide’, but these figures are ludicrous.
Words used such as ‘sharp disparity’ only just touches on the problem we have in our region. This is quickly amounting to government neglect of the north east of England.
As we look at the available workforce i.e. 2.64 million unemployed, of which ‘youth unemployment’ being a vast proportion of the total figure, I ask how can government state that it’s ‘investment strategy is to maximise the economic benefits for the country as a whole’ when we are not worth more than £5 per head in the north east?
We already have the infrastructure in place to create an ‘economic highway’ between Teesside and Edinburgh, including all the sea ports en-route.
We have the railways to assist the process (remember we pioneered the railways in the north east) plus two road tunnels under the Tyne (although the road improvements to connect either side have been scrapped).
We have campaigned with successive governments for decades to dual the A1.
What will it take for Westminster to realise that we are a proud region. Proud of our past and ready and willing to take part in the economic future of the country.
A formidable Tory prime minister once famously said “give us the tools and we will finish the job” – maybe that’s something Westminster has forgotten.