Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Signs at Least Are Hopeful

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Signs at Least Are Hopeful

Article excerpt

The fact that the Government has committed itself to bridging the North-South divide over the next 16 years should be welcomed.

By 2021, they say, no-one will be seriously disadvantaged by where they live.

This is particularly good news for the North-East which is ( as we all know ( on the wrong side of a pounds 29bn-a-year chasm.

Before we get too excited, however, it is worth remembering two things.

Firstly, this new found determination to right an obvious wrong comes in the run-up to an election and as a direct result of discussions among those in Tony Blair's strategy unit.

The second point is that, had the Government not spent much of the last eight years denying the very existence of the North-South divide, the job could have been half done by now.

That aside, the fact that this strategy unit raised serious concerns about the extent of economic imbalances in the English regions is a step forward.

We hope Mr Blair takes on board the report's findings that, so far, his Government's policies for tackling this issue are "fragmented and unclear". …

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