Britain might look to Germany to heal the north-south divide | Torsten Bell
What happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall involved money, and lots of itBefore the government was forced into locking down British regions, it wanted to level them up, closing productivity gaps between north and south. That’s a valuable objective, reinforced by new research on UK regional inequality from academics appropriately spread across Sheffield, Birmingham and London. The paper reminds us that the UK has some of the biggest productivity gaps between regions in the developed world, with global leaders in parts of London and the south-east very different to some cities in the north and Midlands.There’s nothing new in politicians or academics pointing to the north-south divide, but more interestingly the work notes that the UK has not always led the way in this inequality between places. Most countries had higher regional gaps than the UK for most of the 20thcentury. Indeed, the UK’s productivity gaps fell postwar and their surge is only a post-90s phenomenon.