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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

North of England experiencing a 'jobs double dip'

Think tank urges focus on Northern economic potential for full UK recovery

On the day the latest official UK unemployment figures are published, the think tank IPPR North reveals that the gap between the unemployment rate in the North of England and the South East is the widest on record.

In a new report published today, IPPR North reveals the North of England has experienced a labour market double-dip over the last year while unemployment in the South East has remained below its recession peak.

IPPR North argue that the UK economy will not experience a strong recovery unless there is more focus on cities in the North that have untapped potential such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

IPPR North's analysis shows that in the North just 1 in 20 of long term claimants left unemployment in January 2012. It also reveals that and the rate of young people leaving unemployment in the North has reached levels not seen since the last Conservative government in January 1997.

The report shows that unemployment in the North of England has hit 'white collar' jobs with managers, senior officials and administrative staff the hardest. But in the South East the numbers employed as managers and senior officials has been increasing since the recession officially ended.

IPPR North argues that bringing forward investment in infrastructure in the North will give the boost to the Northern economy that is needed and will help create jobs.

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North said:

"There has to be a greater focus on cities in the North if we are ever to get out of the mess the UK economy is in. Cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle have the potential to create real growth in the economy but this potential has to be taken seriously by the government with a focussed regional policy.

"Our research shows that it is mainly 'white collar' jobs that have been lost in the North with managers and administrative staff hit the hardest. This has compounded an already difficult situation in some areas. Job creation in the North must be a priority.

"Investment in transport projects is one way of doing this - they create jobs in the short term and create the conditions for long term growth by improving the connections between places. The government has indicated its intension to invest in the Northern Hub rail project, which will address the bottle neck around Manchester. This project is set to deliver a £4 boost to the economy for every £1 spent. We need many more projects like this one, and they need to be brought forward and begun as soon as possible."

IPPR North recommends a five-point plan for jobs growth:

  1. Bring forward capital spending on infrastructure projects including the Northern Hub transport development
  1. A targeted jobs guarantee: a job paid at the minimum wage or above, to anyone who has been unemployed and claiming JSA for more than 12 consecutive months targeted to the worst affected areas
  1. A regional investment bank: focused on investment in innovation and small and medium-sized businesses
  1. Innovation clusters: these should be in specific places and focus around renewable energy; advanced manufacturing: health and medical; nuclear; marine and ports
  1. Capital allowance concessions: government should introduce targeted tax incentives such as higher research and development tax credits and increased capital allowances for specific areas of investment and innovation as part of its 'City Deals' policy.

Notes to Editors:

IPPR North's analysis of the February unemployment figures shows that over the last year unemployment is:

? up 22 per cent in the North West (57,000 more people unemployed)

? up 13 per cent in the North East (17,000 more people unemployed)

? up 13 per cent in London (49,000 more people unemployed)

? up 8 per cent in Yorkshire and Humber (19,000 more people unemployed)

? up 4 per cent in the East (18,000 more people unemployed)

? up 2.4 per cent in the East Midlands (4,000 more people unemployed)

? up 2 per cent in the South East (6,000 more people unemployed)

? down 4.7 per cent in the West Midlands (12,000 fewer unemployed people)

? down 0.5 per cent in the South West (1000 fewer unemployed people)

Unemployment figures are available from:

IPPR North's analysis of areas with high unemployment and low vacancy rates:


Tamsin Crimmens, 07800 742 262, 0191 233 9051,