Levelling up report finds North-South divide is growing - despite Government promises

Report by Rachel Bullock

For many people in the North East, the State of the North report's findings that the UK is more regionally divided than ever hasn't come as a surprise.

It's 11.30am and the White Feather Project in Middlesbrough has already taken 18 calls from people desperate for food parcels.

Manager Karen says they're so busy, they recently ran out of supplies - and as far as she can see, the idea of levelling up exists only on paper.

She told ITV News Tyne Tees "People are working and they still can't make ends meet, last week we had to actually stop doing them on the Saturday because we needed to go shopping for the Sunday."

Today's report by IPPR North claims that despite Government pledges, the North remains far behind the South, finding:

The report's author, Amreen Qureshi, does find that the North is striving to demonstrate its own potential, highlighting how more than half of England's renewable energy is generated here.

But she also warns that if the North's full potential is ever to emerge, there needs to be less talk and more action from central government.

She said: "One in three children are living in poverty in the North East, which is unacceptable at this moment in time.

"Levelling up should mean something to the people of the North East. That means taking money, power, resources out of Whitehall and giving it to the local and regional leaders in the North East, so that they can make a difference to the people living there."