The notion that Northern England is a few steps behind the South in regard to infrastructure and housing should come as no surprise, but could the tide be changing?
Increasingly, murmurings about the potential of the North have been cropping up and championed by the likes of George Osborne. In an interview with Radio 4s Today Programme he said, “In this country we have some great cities, but none are on the scale of the global city that is London,”
“We need to create a northern powerhouse, bring together cities, like Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, that are physically quite close to each other, but don’t have the transport links, don’t cooperate in the way that you would see in a single global city.”
It is hard to deny that this sounds like a brilliant idea, but of course, it is not unknown for such ideas to amount to nothing more than a few sketches on a piece of paper. If it is turned into a reality and is not merely wishful thinking, it would not only bring about more jobs but may give northern citizens a deeper sense of identity and significance. The saying strength in numbers applies here. A multitude of Northern cities linked by trains would be the perfect counterpart to London. London is the financial centre of England and is undoubtedly the most powerful city in the country – perhaps this power needs to be shared? Perhaps the playing field needs to be levelled?
Furthermore, with property prices in the north being staggeringly low compared to the south, professionals from London and elsewhere may come looking for work and cheap accommodation. Statistics by the Land Registry show that property prices were up by 18.5% year-on-year in London in May, but only rose by 0.9% in the North East of England and 1.3% in the North West.
Historically, the North may be known for being lacklustre and lacking but things definitely seem to be looking up. I for one am intrigued and hope that the government gets the ball rolling soon.