Letter: Assisted area status: North or South?

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Sir: Your article about assisted area status ('London's unemployment above regions getting aid', 2 March) does not mention what in my view is probably the most important point of all. I refer to an area's ability to 'pick up' when the recession ends. During the 1980s much of the South of England had a boom which ended in the recession, significantly helped by reckless domestic borrowing. As the recession ends, the economy will pick up in such places by gaining its own momentum.

This contrasts with many of the problem areas elsewhere in the UK where more deep-seated structural problems are at the root of the difficulty. For example, in the case of West Cumbria and Furness perhaps the biggest single problem is desperately inadequate links to the main transport network. This, of itself, is not going to be resolved by an upturn in the economy. It is in areas such as this that capital for regional purposes should be spent, since this is the only way such deficiencies can be remedied.

The Government should not listen to 'gloom mongers' from the South. Indeed, to listen to them is tantamount to an admission that the recession is not ending.

Yours faithfully,




2 March

The writer is MEP for Cumbria and Lancashire North.