Shocked by the recent findings from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that 10 of the UK's 12 most struggling towns and cities are in the North of England? Not us here at Quick Loans. Yet again, more evidence of a North-South divide that reminds us that those in government sit in their ivory towers with their pomp, privilege and separation from the realities of the real world.
As a Northern-based business, we applaud the critics who say the findings undermine George Osborne's plan to create a Northern Powerhouse to bridge the North-South divide. As if money to help boost local economies, create employment and push growth outside London would ever come further North than the Watford Gap?! Prosperity shared doesn’t extend that far it seems. Maybe that’s one of the reasons consumers borrowed a further £1.6bn in January, the second-highest level since June 2005, according to figures released today from the Bank of England.
A Department for Communities and Local government spokesman, not from Mr Osbourne himself, who is decisively quiet, said that there has been investment in transport, science and the arts across the region, backed by more than £4bn of new funding from central Government. Really? Has there? That’s a lot of money sloshing around that we suspect many people in the 12 areas identified would wonder what it’s been spent on where they live – MP’s expenses we wonder?!
All this on the same day the British Retail Consortium warned that a third of jobs in the retail sector will disappear by 2025 because improvements to technology means there’ll be a reduced need for workers. We’re not sure their comments that "fewer but better jobs" in the future are any comfort to the 900,000 people whose jobs are at risk. We’d also question where the majority of those workers live – no doubt Northern towns and cities!! More bad news then with just a month to go before the government's new National Living Wage kicks in, which is expected to hit workers to the tune of 60,000 job losses and result in higher costs for consumers. It never rains but it pours…..
So, to anyone in the 12 most struggling towns and cities of Rochdale, Burnley, Bolton, Blackburn, Hull, Grimsby, Dundee, Middlesbrough, Bradford, Blackpool, Stoke-on-Trent and Wigan or to retail workers and those likely to be affected by the Living Wage in need of money, get in touch, we don’t sit in an ivory tower here at QL central.