Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drive to Make Savings Leaves Cities Exposed; Region Will Be Hit Worse Than South

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Drive to Make Savings Leaves Cities Exposed; Region Will Be Hit Worse Than South

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Hunt

PLANS to slash the country's debt through massive spending cuts will hit the North much harder than the South, new research concludes.

Think-tank Centre for Cities has highlighted a division in how different parts of the UK are recovering from recession and are placed to absorb cuts to the public sector.

Sunderland is named in the Cities Outlook 2011 report as one of the most vulnerable places in the country, prompting a backlash from the council's boss.

The report pulls together figures on things like unemployment, the number of people on benefits, average earnings and the number of public versus private sector jobs.

It finds certain parts of the country will be much harder hit by forthcoming cuts to welfare and the public sector, as the Government tries to reduce the country's deficit and will find it much harder to bounce back from recession.

Cities in the North East and North West are most likely to be affected, with those in the South and South East least hard hit.

Sunderland is said to be among those cities with "weaker private sector economies" which rely heavily on public sector employment. These cities face "significant challenges in the months ahead", the report's authors say, and may need extra cash from the Government.

While not predicted to struggle so badly, the Newcastle area, which also comprises North and South Tyneside and Gateshead in the report, will also be hit.

Sunderland City Council's chief executive Dave Smith is due to speak at an event in London today to coincide with the publication of the report. He will use his speech to counter the independent think-tank's claims that Sunderland is vulnerable, by highlighting the success of private firms based in the city.

Mr Smith said: "Sunderland's economy has come a long way in the last 20 years. …

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