UK Inequalities Highlighted

The latest report from the UK 2070 Commission, “Moving Up The Gears”, once again highlights inequalities in the UK. Chair of the Commission, Lord Kerslake, states in the foreword to the Executive summary: “The aspirations of successive governments over the last 50-years to rebalance Britain and create a fairer stronger country have failed. We are still a deeply divided society. The prospects are that current deep-rooted and long-standing spatial inequalities will only worsen.”

The report was featured in the Yorkshire Post on Friday September 20th.

Follow the link below to the report.

There is lots of good stuff in this report but some of the suggested solutions, in particular those relating to devolution, “build on existing, inadequate and discredited frameworks” which is exactly what we said about the previous report. There are nods to subsidiarity, deliberative democracy and meaningful devolution but, without adequate frameworks being in place, these suggestions are likely to achieve little.

Overall the report gives the impression that it could have been sponsored by Whitehall. Inadequate solutions designed to squeeze something out of existing arrangements whilst placating the shambolic Westminster administration are likely to come to naught. As Lord Kerslake points out, successive governments have failed over the last 50 years to rebalance Britain. In my opinion, there is little to suggest that the next 50 years will be any different. We cannot, therefore, leave this job to Westminster. As far as Yorkshire is concerned, the powers necessary to get on with the job should be delegated to a Yorkshire administration supported by a directly elected parliament.

In Yorkshire we already have a defined geography so there is simply no need, as far as we are concerned, for us to be part of an English spatial plan. Also, the models for effective devolution are, to a large extent, already in place; London, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. We just have to decide on the one that’s right for us.

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