Saturday, March 05, 2016

Long division

If the mere fact of George Osborne promising to close up the North/South divide wasn't ridiculous enough, here's the proof that the gap is still very much in existence: ten of the top twelve UK towns and cities suffering from the most severe economic decline are in the North. Lancashire is particularly prominently represented, with Rochdale, Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton all in the top five.

The situation in the North is only being exacerbated by Osborne's cuts, which are coercing councils into making tough, unpopular and damaging decisions. Take museums, for instance, a significant number of which are being forced to close their doors due to loss of funding, the victims of cultural vandalism. Like pubs and gig venues, they urgently need support. If the proposed "Northern Powerhouse" is to become anything approaching reality, then the North needs to be able to attract and retain workers - and it'll be harder to do so if the Tories have helped to decimate the local cultural landscape.

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