Economy: End to the north-south divide

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Entrepreneurs in both the North and South of England are confident their fortunes will improve dramatically in 1998, a report claimed yesterday.

It said the findings laid to rest the theory of the "north-south divide".

The survey by Grant Thornton International and Business Strategies, the economic consultancy, reveals similarly large numbers of owner-managers of small-to-medium sized enterprises in the North, Greater London and the South-west expected turnover to increase sharply this year.

Andrew Godfrey, head of growth and development services at Grant Thornton, said: "It does seem that in terms of expected increase in turnover, the traditional north-south divide has been hit on the head.

Business people in the North were most optimistic about the coming 12 months. The survey also reveals that while employment expectations are set to rise in the south east and the north, so is investment in training. Welsh businessmen were most pessimistic. They expected the lowest level of employment, investment and advertising of any region.