The Economy in North vs South of England

The North and South of England have always been different. The southeastern and southwestern grouping which includes London and the East of England, has a distinct culture. The North, including the Humber and Yorkshire region, is a working-class area that has declined since the end of manufacturing.

A rich South and a poor North are common themes in popular culture. Television programs emphasized this and the prominence of accents from the South are prevalent on news broadcasts. The Northern accent is seen as humorous, and Northern comedians are often popular. In addition to these social differences, typically, political differences also define the divide. The South has voted conservative and right-wing, while the North has been left-leaning.

The popularly touted reason for the North-South divide has been the decline of industry in the North, which naturally led to less economic prosperity. The Industrial Revolution was good to northern cities. Factories and mines were pumping out products and raw materials like coal. In what would be a detriment later on, it also led to the region relying on certain industries.

After developing countries began to take over the industries, the North’s fortunes quickly declined. In the 1980s, events like the miner’s strike made the public harden against the working classes who worked in the mines that were making the case for coal.

No jobs meant that people left the cities, so there was a decline in population. In modern times, some of the cities have attempted to have a renaissance. For example, the Bank of England has some of its offices in Leeds. Leeds also has large companies in the data and software industries, as well as major services like the Royal Mail’s office.

There is a section of northern consumers who can afford to purchase luxury goods. This is shown by the presence of stores like Harvey Nichols — in Leeds but also in Manchester. Exceptional areas like Yorkshire’s Golden Triangle actually have wealthier residents than some Southern equivalents.  However, these cities cannot pull the weight of the entire North themselves.

The future of the North-South divide

Despite the encouraging signs in some northern cities, it is projected that in the future more jobs will be created in London than the rest of the country. Also, the jobs in the North were based on public sector organizations. When they leave too, the private sector does not usually step in.

As a result, most of the jobs in the northern region are service-based, with numbers as high as almost 90 percent of workers in the services. The unemployment rate has also been higher than the rest of England.

Unfortunately for the North, when investors are invited to the region, their needs aren’t usually met. The lack of skilled workers and infrastructure are major reasons why they will continue to focus on other areas of the country. In turn, where they invest is where will flourish and continue to do better economically.

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