Blackpool 'has higher mortality rates than some parts of Turkey, Slovakia, and Romania'

Central Drive in Blackpool, which is one of the poorest streets in the country (Picture: Bill Johnson/JPIMedia)Central Drive in Blackpool, which is one of the poorest streets in the country (Picture: Bill Johnson/JPIMedia)
Central Drive in Blackpool, which is one of the poorest streets in the country (Picture: Bill Johnson/JPIMedia)
Blackpool, Manchester and Hull have higher mortality rates than parts of Turkey, Slovakia and Romania, according to a think tank report which says "the UK is more regionally divided than any comparable advanced economy".

The "State of the North 2019" report, from IPPR North, blames centralisation of power and lack of devolution for making the country more regionally divided than comparable nations like France or Germany in a range of areas like health, jobs, disposable income and productivity.

The report, published on Wednesday, says that only countries like Romania and South Korea are more divided.

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It found that the disposable income divide is larger than any comparable country and has increased over the last 10 years.

In Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, disposable income per person is £48,000 higher than in Blackburn with Darwen, Nottingham and Leicester, the report says.

And it found that rates of mortality vary more within the UK than in the majority of developed nations with places like Blackpool, Manchester and Hull having mortality rates worse than parts of Turkey, Slovakia and Romania.

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The report also said the divides in jobs opportunities and productivity are also larger than in comparable countries.

It said that parts of London and the South East are among the most productive in the developed world, whereas parts of Northern Ireland, Wales and the North of England are less productive than parts of Poland, Hungary and Romania.

The report authors blamed centralisation for the creation and worsening of these regional divides, saying that 95p in every £1 paid in tax is taken by Whitehall, compared with 69p in Germany.

They also said that 1% of GDP is spent by local government on economic affairs, which is half as much as is spent locally and regionally in France or Germany.

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Report author and senior research fellow at IPPR North, Luke Raikes, said: "It is no surprise that people across the country feel so disempowered. Both political and economic power are hoarded by a handful of people in London and the South East, and this has damaged all parts of the country, from Newcastle to Newham."

He said: "All our regions' economies have been held back by centralisation - but they're interdependent too and we can no longer ignore that.

"All our regions need devolution to be empowered, and to work together. This must be a top priority for the next government."

Co-author and interim director of IPPR North, Arianna Giovannini, said metro mayors in the north of England had "shown what's possible".

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He said: "Devolution must be the way forward for the country, and all areas need substantial power and funding.

"The next government must lead a Devolution Parliament - an unprecedented and irreversible shift of power - so that England's regions, towns and cities can work together to bridge our regional divides."

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry said: "Since 2010 there are over half a million more people in work, wages are rising faster than inflation and over 100,000 more businesses have been created in the North.

"The Conservatives in government have done more than any other to maximise the power of the North. Five years ago there was no devolution at all, now 50% of the people who live in the North are represented by metro mayors with a warchest of powers and money to drive jobs and growth."