Rebalancing bid ‘failed’ says study

Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute  research fellow, Dr Craig Berry
Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute research fellow, Dr Craig Berry

The coalition government‘s efforts to ‘rebalance’ the British economy were largely unsuccessful, a report by Sheffield University academics has found.

The study, released today ahead of tomorrow’s emergency Budget after the election returned a Conservative Government, said there was ‘little evidence’ the last government delivered on its promises to rebalance the economy.

The finance and manufacturing sectors are now a smaller component of the UK economy, with less jobs in both industries, and economic activity in London as well as the South East is now a larger component of the UK economy.

In contrast, each of the Northern regions is now a smaller component of the UK economy – Yorkshire now holds 6.7 per cent, compared to 7.1 per cent before the economic crisis.

Dr Craig Berry, report co-author and deputy director of the university’s Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, said: “Based on the available evidence, it is fair to conclude the coalition government failed to rebalance the British economy in any significant sense.

“The economic policy agenda pursued by the coalition, and now being taken forward and intensified by the Conservative government, was not sufficiently oriented towards rebalancing as a form of genuine economic change.

He said the Government should now take the chance to consider whether its ‘economic policy priorities’ are the correct ones.

A government spokesmAn said: “Closing the long-term gaps between the north and south and London and other major cities, so all parts of the UK share in the benefits of economic growth is an absolute government priority.

“Good progress was made over the last Parliament, with 1.2 million more private sector jobs in England outside London and the South East than in 2010, but there is more to do and that’s why rebalancing the economy through investment and the decentralisation Bill will form the backbone of our recovery plans.”