North-South divide too simplistic, says Blair

TALK OF a Britain divided between a deprived North and an overprivileged South is too simplistic, Tony Blair will say today as he visits the North- west to launch a report on the subject.

Half of London's boroughs are among the 50 most deprived local authorities, the report says. And while the home counties largely escape the worst social conditions the headline figures hide great disparities within all regions.

During a two-day visit, Mr Blair will meet representatives from communities in the North-west and will go on a walkabout in Manchester's newly rebuilt city centre. His report, Sharing the Nation's Prosperity, is expected to help guide Government policy on tackling deprivation. "I know there is still too much poverty, too much under-achievement," he said.

The report shows that of the worst 50 districts, 16 are in London, eight in the North-east, 11 in the North-west, six in Yorkshire and Humberside, six in the West Midlands and three in the East Midlands.

The most deprived local authority in England is Liverpool, followed by Newham, Manchester, Hackney and then Birmingham. Within those regions, the picture is mixed.

For example, Leeds is now one of Europe's more affluent cities, with per capita income 9 per cent above the EU average. South Yorkshire has fared much worse, with barely 75 per cent of the average.

In the South-east, unemployment ranges from 0.8 per cent in Winchester to 8.6 per cent in Thanet. In Hackney, more than one person in five draws Income Support while in Wokingham, Berkshire, the figure is just one in 30.

Some of the worst unemployment is on the south coast, in places such as Plymouth, Dover and Southend.

Mr Blair will cite the report in arguing that his Government is enhancing living standards around the country, not just in affluent areas. The national minimum wage, for example, has had the biggest impact in the South-west, in terms of the proportion of employees who have benefited.

But the Shadow Chancellor, Francis Maude, said the national minimum wage and high petrol and diesel taxes had deprived parts of Britain furthest away from markets in the South-east and Europe of competitive advantage.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Administrator

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Purpose of Role: To co-ordinate maintena...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - Commercial Training

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The business development manage...

The Richmond Fellowship Scotland: Executive Director

£66,192 per annum including car allowance of £5,700): The Richmond Fellowship ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent