Ten years after it was first introduced, new research finds that austerity has had a disproportionately damaging impact upon the North of England’s resilience and its capacity to deal with the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On 22nd June 2010, George Osborne, the Chancellor who would later coin the phrase ‘The Northern Powerhouse’, delivered his now infamous austerity budget with its programme of significant cuts in public spending. At the time, Osborne stressed that the pain would be shared: “we are all in this together” and the government would “protect the most vulnerable in our society”.

Ten years on, our analysis of the impacts of austerity shows how the North of England has been disproportionately affected by spending cuts, particularly those to local government. The North now faces one of the most serious social and economic crises in living memory, but austerity has significantly reduced the region’s resilience and in doing so, its capacity for recovery.