Yes, Britain is last in the Global Race when it comes to regional inequality.
“North and South”, “the two nations”, “the problem of the depressed areas” – this country has been worrying about regional inequality for a long time. It means that some parts of Britain benefit much less than others from overall rising prosperity and it undermines national cohesion.
So it’s a great shame that Britain has a much bigger wealth gap (*) between the richest and poorest regions than other G7 economies. And this is a problem for the whole country: London and the South East are so much richer than the rest of the country that they suck in people with higher earning capacity. This makes them even richer and the poor regions even poorer. This leads to under-utilisation of the resources of the poorer regions, which tend to attract less investment than would be rational and to over-investment in the rich corner of the country.
We’d all gain if Britain could escape from last place and win a medal!
(*) The chart is based on OECD data showing the range between the richest and poorest regions’ regional GDP per capita as a percentage of national GDP per capita.
View a larger version of the infographic here or click on the image.