Tagged: North-South divide

North East has lowest healthy life expectancy in country

Men and women in the North-East have the lowest healthy life expectancy in the country, according to official new figures.

A statistical bulletin produced by the Office for National Statistics highlights the continuing North-South divide in health life expectancy.

Men born in the North-East had a life expectancy of 77.8 years, slightly higher than the North-West, but the lowest healthy life expectancy of 59.5 years.

Women from the North-East also finished at the bottom of the pile for life expectancy – 81.6 years – and last among the English regions for healthy life expectancy – 60.1 years.

The two areas where men and women could expect to have the longest expectancy of healthy living were in Richmond upon Thames and Wokingham in the affluent South-East of England.

Men born in Richmond upon Thames could expect to enjoy a healthy living expectancy of 70 years while women born in Wokingham could expect to live healthily for 71 years.

Within the North-East Darlington men had the longest healthy life expectancy of 64 years with Northumberland just behind with 62.7.

The shortest healthy life expectancy within the region for men was in Sunderland where average healthy life expectancy is 55 years.

 Women born in Darlington also had the longest healthy life expectancy in the region – 63 years – while women from Sunderland had the shortest healthy life expectancy in the region – 58.4 years.
Source –  Northern Echo, 20 July 2014

Britain’s richest 1% own as much as poorest 55% of population

Britain’s richest 1% have accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% of the population put together, according to the latest official analysis of who owns the nation’s £9.5tn of property, pensions and financial assets.

In figures that also lay bare the extent of inequality across the north-south divide, the Office for National Statistics said household wealth in the south-east had been rising five times as fast as across the whole country.

The average wealth of households in the southeast had surged to £309,000 at the end of 2012, up 30% since the first wealth report published by the ONS covering 2006-8 – while the average rise in England was only 6%.

But wealth in the north-east had fallen, the only region where it did so, to an average of just under £143,000. In Scotland the figure was £165,500.

Northern regions lost out after a dramatic rise in stock market values that was grabbed mostly by households in the south east, the ONS figures show.

The situation is likely to have worsened following an 18% surge in house prices over the past year in the south-east and even higher at the top end of the market.

A rush to save among richer households as the recession deepened boosted the nation’s total wealth and ensured Britain’s long-established financial inequality remained in place, with the top 10% laying claim to 44% of household wealth – while the poorest half of the country had only 9%.

Rachael Orr, Oxfam‘s head of poverty in the UK said the figures were a “shocking chapter in a tale of two Britains“.

The charity recently reported that five billionaire families controlled the same wealth as 20% of the population. “It is further evidence of increasing inequality at a time when five rich families have the same wealth as 12 million people,” she said.

We need our politicians to grasp the nettle and make the narrowing gap between the richest and poorest a top priority. It cannot be right that in Britain today a small elite are getting richer and richer while millions are struggling to make ends meet.”

Duncan Exley, director of the Equality Trust, said: “The grotesque concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny minority is fracturing our society, weakening our economy and giving disproportionate power to the richest. Unless policymakers adopt a clear goal of reducing the gap between the richest and the rest, they will have to govern an increasingly dysfunctional nation.

The report comes after French economist Thomas Piketty has ignited international debate about inequality by documenting the rapid accumulation of assets by the top 1% over the four decades since the 1970s.

Britain’s top 1% saw their share of wealth increase slightly in the four years before 2012, grabbing the same share as 54.9% of the population, up from 54.2% in 2008/10.

But the Treasury said the report showed that wealth inequality had remained the same throughout the six years up to 2012 while income inequality had declined to levels last seen in 1986. A spokesperson said the government’s efforts to protect the poorest during the recession had worked.

The effects of the Great Recession are still being felt which is why we have taken continued action to help hardworking people by cutting income tax and freezing fuel duty.

“And we want to help more people to save for their future or own their own home which is why we are giving people more flexibility over their pensions and introducing Help to Buy. At the same time we have introduced new higher rates of stamp duty on the most expensive homes and done more than any previous government to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance in order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share in tax.”

> If the government executed every poor person in the UK, a government spokesman would then be wheeled out to claim that by killing everyone they had in fact improved the victims lot, since they would no longer have to buy food, heating, housing, etc, thereby making everyone better off.

And dead, of course, but you can’t have everything…

Critics of the wealth report said it failed to capture the huge diversion of wealth to offshore tax havens, which account for trillions of pounds worth of savings.

A series of investigations into offshore tax havens have documented the success of their banks in attracting a steady rise in the savings and financial assets of the richest 1%.

There was also a clear disparity between women and men over who owns the most homes, pensions, cars and stocks and shares. The average value of men’s total pension wealth was nearly twice as high as women’s in 2010/12 – £63,000 compared with £34,800.

The power of the grey pound is highlighted in the report by several measures, including one showing that couples without children, where one person is over and the other under the state pension age, have the highest total wealth at £607,800, up from £452,000 in 2006.

Source – The Guardian,  15 May 2014

Budget will only widen north-south divide

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck today claimed George Osborne’s fifth budget would only widen the north-south divide.

 

She believes  Osborne’s statement demonstrated the Coalition Government is “out of touch” with people in the constituency.

She said: “He tried to say that the economy is turning around, but households in South Shields who have seen their wages fall while prices rise month after month will see right through him.

“It’s clear whose side the Chancellor is on. Wages in London’s banking sector are rising nearly five times faster than the national average, and even then he won’t rule out tax cuts for the top earners. Meanwhile, those on low incomes are continuing to see their living standards fall.”

Coun Iain Malcolm, the leader of South Tyneside Council, labelled the budget a “gimmick”.

He said: “The budget was classic ‘smoke and mirrors’, full of pre-election gimmicks. They announced that they would cut inheritance tax for emergency service workers killed in duty – but this only applies to those leaving more than £325,000, so it is difficult to calculate how many would actually benefit.”

Coun Malcolm said new support to build 200,000 new homes was “simply nowhere near enough to resolve the housing crisis facing this country”.

The budget received a more positive response from a senior member of the borough’s business community.

Julie Lightfoot, managing director of South Shields-based Solar Solve Ltd, said: “As a local family-owned business who exports 85 per cent of our turnover, it’s encouraging that the Government is supporting British manufacturers by introducing a £7bn package to cut energy bills

“Although we aren’t an intensive energy user, every little saving helps, although we’ll have to wait and see what the actual savings will be. However, it’s nice to know that half of the firms that will benefit the most by cuts in manufacturing costs are in the north of England.”

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn said: “This is a government that has pushed down living standards to such an extent it has left working people £1,600 a year worse off.

“Osborne and the Tories only stand up for the privileged few.”

Merv Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, said: “The Chancellor should have had the courage of his convictions and stood by his support of a £7 minimum wage. Moving to the Living Wage is the best way to raise tax revenue and put money into people’s pockets. It would boost consumer confidence and increase spending in local shops and businesses.”

North East Chamber of Commerce policy director Ross Smith said: “This was a sensible budget, and the conditions within which North East businesses can continue their strong contribution to UK growth have been strengthened by these announcements.”

Source – Shields Gazette,  21 March 2014

Job Vacancies Approach 800,000 But North-South Divide Remains

The number of advertised job vacancies grew by 3.1% between December 2013 and January 2014, with the total number of available jobs across the UK now at 768,104 and expected to exceed 800,000 by the end of February 2014, according to research by Adzuna.co.uk  seen by the Welfare News Service (WNS).

The headline figure represent a 14% increase on this time 12 months ago and research suggests that the apparent rise in advertised job vacancies is at least partly due to a strengthening manufacturing sector, which now employs around 2.5 million people across the country.

> Although the the apparent rise in advertised job vacancies in my Jobcentre appears to be because there are so many self-employed, commission-based  non-jobs.

In particular, significant growth in the UK’s car industry accounted for 10,012 advertised vacancies in January 2014 – triple the number advertised in January 2013  and experts predict that UK car production will reach record levels by 2017, creating even more jobs. The UK’s largest car manufacturer, Nissan, has started production on a new factory in Sunderland, providing jobs for more than 7,000 people.

> For some people. It’s generally understood locally that you have no chance at all of getting a job at Nissan if you’re aged over 30.

And we’d better hope that Nissan don’t decide they can make more profits elsewhere in the world and up sticks, thereby creating a domino effect amongst their suppliers.

I never feel putting all your eggs in one basket is a good idea, but it keeps happening. A few years ago, call centres were the way ahead for the region – until they decided to relocate overseas.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said:

“Manufacturing will play a key role in the rejuvenation of the British economy. It will help to increase the productivity of the country’s labour force, and help us catch up with our overseas competitors. The Bank of England has cited that greater economic productivity is needed to validate wage expectations, and manufacturing is one of the key vehicles to drive this forward.”

He added: “While the booming car industry is fuelling vacancy growth around the UK, the real future of the UK’s manufacturing industry lies in new technology. Manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing could remove the need for many elements in supply chains, bringing large parts of production back to the UK and increase demand for skilled labour in the industry.”

Despite an increase in the number of available jobs in the UK, the North-South divide remains. Nine of the top ten cities to find a job in January were concentrated in the South, while seven of the worst ten cities to find a job were in the North.

Cambridge is the easiest place to find work, according to Adzuna’s research, where jobs outnumber jobseeker’s four to one. This is in stark comparison to the Wirral where an average 27.28 people are applying for each job vacancy in the city.

Andrew Hunter said:

“It’s vital that government initiatives attempt to bridge the gaping North-South split in the jobs market. Encouraging manufacturing will have a positive effect on the whole economy, but it could further separate North from South. The North is home to British car manufacturing, and a collection of Jaguar Land Rover production plants are based in the Midlands. But our high-tech manufacturing plants are clustered in the South, with Cambridge and Guildford two key epicenters. It is this type of highly skilled manufacturing which we are re-shoring back to Britain. Once again, it will be the South that benefits the most.”

> So, no change there then.

Unemployed people looking for work will welcome news that the jobs market appears to be improving. However, the news for salary levels isn’t as positive.

> More advertised jobs does not necesserily mean more good jobs. It might  – from my personal experience as someone looking for work – just mean more non-jobs, part-time work and zero-hour contracts. Remove all those and what do your figures show then ?

I certainly haven’t noticed many jobs advertised  in the car industry locally

The average advertised salary fell by 1% to a 17-month low in January 2014 and now stands at £32,011 per annum, according to Adzuna.

Figures show that wages have fallen 4.6% since January 2013, which in monetary terms equates to a drop of £2,181 in advertised salaries, Adzuna say.

Click to download the research by Adzuna.

Source – Welfare News Service,  27 Feb 2014

http://welfarenewsservice.com/job-vacancies-approach-800000-north-south-divide-remains-wages-falling/