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It's Class Up North.

Social Justice & The North-South Divide.

Social Justice is about working towards making society more equal for everyone. This includes "fairness in healthcare, employment, housing and more". The North-South divide is the contrast between Southern England and Northern England - which is in relation to social, economic and cultural differences. The divide is not an existing line between the North and South but more based on assumptions and stereotypes associated with each region. Some people believe that there's no such thing as a North-South divide, whereas other people believe that it exists and that it's expanding further. A report in 2006 found that "economic growth above the UK average was occurring only in the South and South East England, whilst North East England showed the slowest growth". Statistics like this show a clear economic difference between the North of England and the South of England. The North of England is not as economically stable in comparison to the South of England. The South is home to London, which has a lot of flowing capital. It suggests that people in the North don't have the same opportunities compared to people in the South. Whether it be job security or buying a house, the South have better economic capabilities for this because the North doesn't have a good financial background.

The Cost of Living Crisis.

The cost of living crisis was a huge problem for anyone paying energy bills, food bills, petrol bills and so on in the UK. But the people that were affected the most were lower income families, especially within the North. The cost of living crisis was also found to be widening the North-South divide by about 30%. This is because "inflation is up to 30% higher in northern English cities than it is in London, according to a new report" Overall, this is escalating regional inequality even further. As someone from and currently living in Sunderland (in the North East of England), I've seen the detrimental impact this has had on other lower-income families as well as my own. Obviously the entire country has been impacted by the cost of living crisis, but it's very clear to see that certain regions have been hit harder than others. Places like Burnley, Blackburn and Blackpool are where prices have increased the most and the inflation was between 11% and 11.5%. Which is almost "3 percentage points higher than in southern cities like London, Reading and Cambridge".

Child Poverty.

Child Poverty is at a new found high in the North East of England. Almost 40% of children in the North East are currently living below the poverty line. The research found that "child poverty rates in the North East had almost doubled from being below the national average in 2014/15 at 26% to the worst in the country by 2020/21 at 38%". There has been a dramatic rise in the need for foodbanks in the North East due to this; and many are beginning to struggle due to the amount of people needing the support. The North East struggles with unemployment due to the lack of jobs and investments in the region, not only this, but low pay is another issue. All of this is a factor in how child poverty has risen to the highest in the country.

For years, the North of England has been neglected by the Government, but it's now very clear that urgent action is needed. The North-South divide is expanding, the cost of living crisis is impacting lower income families more than ever and child poverty is at it's highest in the North East. More opportunities for employment, higher pay, more government support schemes for vulnerable and low income families and benefits rising with inflation would all be a starting point in how the issues the North of England faces could be tackled. But this requires the government to push a button and take action. The North has been left unattended and without support by the government for too long and these statistics are the outcome of the neglect. Action is needed. It's time to be able to celebrate the beauty of the North and to not always have to focus on the bad things about it which is down to government neglect. It's class up north.


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