North of England sees lowest investment of advanced economies

A new report has found the North of England is experiencing the lowest investment of advanced economies around the world.

Research by think tank IPPR North has shown that countries like Slovakia, Poland and Hungary all experience greater investment than the UK and in particular, the North.

The 'State of the North' study puts the north of England in an international context - by considering the region as its own country, in comparison to 38 different countries.

It found that in this list, the UK comes out as 35, and the North as 38 for the lowest levels of investment.

It showed that if the UK had seen the same investment as the average country on the list, around £397 billion more would have been invested from 2017 to 2020, while around £195 billion more would have been invested in the North.

The report said the UK and the North are being held back by "vast inequalities" and "systematic underinvestment" in research and development, social infrastructure and transport.

Marcus Johns, the reports author, said: "Of all the advanced economies around the world, ours is the most regionally divided and getting worse - the North is at the sharp end of these divides and that's a barrier to prosperity.

"The North's strengths are national strengths. Northern prosperity can be national prosperity. It's up to the government to unlock this potential."

Director of IPPR North, Zoë Billingham said:"Political leaders need to 'zoom out' and learn lessons from our international neighbours to achieve regional growth and narrow our aching divides.

"We also know that the government has the choice to invest for the long-term in regions like the North to take the UK from a low investment economy, to one that, finally, thrives."

The government has responded that it has committed to spreading opportunity across the whole of the UK, including the North of England.

In a statement, a spokesperson has said that the government is "investing £3.19 billon through our levelling up funds for regeneration, transport and cultural projects and £3 billion to transform local transport networks."

They added that it has "helped secured inward investment" for Nissan in Sunderland and Equinor in the Port of Tyne, as well as launching Freeports on Teeside, and new devolution deals in York and North Yorkshire and the North East, which will "more powers to local leaders."

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