Yorkshire and the Humber has taken the biggest hit from early austerity measures

Published on Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:09
Posted by Scott Buckler

Yorkshire and the Humber has had the sharpest public expenditure cut of any English region during the first year of the coalition government, with an average loss of £390 per person, the TUC says today (Thursday)


The public expenditure figures, available from the House of Commons Library, show that spending across Yorkshire and the Humber fell by 4.4 per cent, compared to a national average fall of 3.8 per cent.

Londoners took the biggest financial hit of £399 but also received the highest level of public expenditure per head at £10,256 - and therefore took a smaller percentage cut than other parts of England.

The figures include the impact of some of the government's initial austerity measures announced in May 2010 - such as reducing regional development agency spending, scrapping the future jobs fund and the building schools for the future programme - but pre-date the far more significant £81 billion of cuts announced in the emergency budget the following month.

The public expenditure reductions are due to the scaling back of public services, infrastructure projects and lower volumes of social security payments, though as unemployment fell by only 0.3 percentage points between April 2010 and April 2011, changes in welfare expenditure had little impact on overall public spending.

The TUC is concerned that the Chancellor's austerity down payment is being felt far greater in some parts of the country than others, and that full blown austerity is depressing regional economies and jeopardising growth prospects.

With deep, rapid spending cuts sending unemployment soaring in areas of high public sector employment, and causing problems for the thousands of private companies that depend on public spending, the TUC is calling for an economic plan B before government policy further widens the north-south divide.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The government said its initial spending cuts would root out inefficiencies and barely be noticed. But the reality is that cancelling school rebuilding projects and job support for young people has had a real impact on people's lives across the country.

'Not only are the poorest families being hit hardest by the government's faltering austerity plan, the cuts are not being spread evenly across the country.

'Areas of high public sector employment are particularly vulnerable to higher joblessness and reduced consumer demand, which in turn is stifling the private sector.

'For all the talk of economic rebalancing, all we are seeing is a growing north-south divide, with City-led growth down south while other regions are struggling.

'It's time ministers finally accepted the mounting evidence that deep, rapid spending cuts are not working and went for an economic plan B that prioritises growth.'

Source: TUC

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