Last year’s State of the North report revealed the extent of the UK’s deep regional divides. This year, we consider what this means for people in the North, asking who is most impacted by these pre-existing divides, and by policies that seek to change them.

Covid-19 has thrown our long-term inequities and lack of resilience into a stark spotlight. A recovery that simply restores the old order would be unsustainable and – for many – unacceptable.

In this report we set out some of the ways in which the North’s economy does not, currently, create the conditions for a good life for everyone in the region – and how a truly ‘levelled up’ North might look.

In an extraordinary year, as we experience a global pandemic and approach Brexit, we propose a series of ‘tests’ to help define ‘levelling up’ and increase accountability for initiatives that seek to rebalance – or ‘level up’ – the regions of England and the UK.