Are 9 of the poorest regions in northern Europe really in the UK?

This poster from the Inequality Briefing cites information from the data agency of the European Union, Eurostat, to claim the poorest regions in the UK are the poorest in northern Europe.

It’s been causing much outrage on Twitter as well as on national newspaper websites. Just one problem: the facts are slightly more complicated than it implies.

Firstly there’s the measure used: “Northern Europe”. This usually means the geographical area that includes the Netherlands, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Britain, Estonia, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The latter three countries are not in the EU and so are not measured by Eurostat, which makes it difficult to judge the veracity of the statement.

West Wales, Durham and Tees Valley, South Yorkshire and Northern Ireland all rank highly as the poorest areas in Europe in a report by Inequality Briefing.

The report notes that despite Britain having a similar economic make-up to its northern European counterparts, it is a far more unequal country.

nner London ranked as the richest area in Northern Europe in the study, but it was alone in the top ten richest list.

Meanwhile nine areas in the UK entered into the top ten poorest, with Hainaut in Belgium the lone exception.

Other research carried out by Inequality Briefing has found the gap between the richest and poorest region in the UK, in terms of disposable income, is the widest in the EU.

The findings reveal that the UK is highly dependent on London and its environs, with just one British region other than the capital – the south-east of England – having a GDP per capita in excess of the EU-15 average, meaning that just 27 per cent of the UK population live in regions wealthier than that EU average.

And far from catching-up with the richer parts of the EU, the UK’s poor regions have fallen further behind.

According to Simon Tilford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, Britain’s problems are three-fold.

Poor skills among a sizeable chunk of the workforce

Weak infrastructure and a lack of affordable housing

And the centralisation of political and commercial power in London.

He says: “Unfortunately, Brexit risks aggravating most, if not all, of these problems. And Britain’s already startling regional imbalances are likely to worsen further, leaving much of the country’s population living in areas considerably poorer than the EU-15 average.

“The Conservatives will provide some fiscal stimulus to counter the weakening of growth caused by Brexit, but will not make the long-term investments in infrastructure and skills needed by the UK.

So what do you think?

Tell us in the comments.

Source : https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/the-uk-has-9-out-of-the-10-poorest-regions-in-northern-europe/06/06/
Source : https://www.indy100.com/article/are-9-of-the-poorest-regions-in-northern-europe-really-in-the-uk–eJ0axHCqmx

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