New jobs data for England reveals sharp north-south economic divide

London dominates when it comes to new jobs and productivity. (Jaanus Jagomägi/Unsplash)

London and the South East have accounted for almost half of England’s increase in jobs over the last decade, despite being home to just one-third of the population.

Jobs increased by 3.8 million, from 26.7 million to 30.5 million, between 2009 and 2019, with 47% going to the southern regions, research by think tank IPPR North found.

In London and the South East, jobs rose by 1.8 million, from 9.2 million to about 11 million.

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In contrast, jobs the North East and North West of England and Yorkshire and the Humber, where almost a third (28%) of the population live, rose just 17% from 7.2 million in 2009 to 7.8 million in 2019.

The southern regions also dominate when it comes to productivity, according to the Devolution Parliament report by IPPR North.

London and the South East contribute 41% of England’s output and account for 41% of businesses and 36% of jobs, despite being home to only 32% of the population.

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According to the report, inner London is one of the most productive areas in the EU. However, in other areas of the UK, productivity is much lower making England the “most regionally unequal country in the world.”

Almost two-thirds of the increase in jobs in London since 2010 have been managers, directors, senior officials or professionals, according to the Devolution Parliament report.

However, other jobs are insecure and low-paid, and London is disproportionately reliant on profit and rents. House prices have risen to 13 times the average annual earnings – when they are only 5.5 times the earnings in the North East, the report says.

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London also has the highest rates of poverty and inequality in the country, according to IPPR North.

“No other country tolerates the inequalities of power and prosperity that divide England, and most major countries across Europe and the developed world have several centres of prosperity,” IPPR said.

“As a result, they tend to have healthier, more resilient national economies with higher productivity and greater inclusion.