Devolution is still driven by a 'divide and rule' ethos

By Arianna Giovannini | 28 January 2020

Over the past six months I had the honour to act as director of IPPR North. It’s fair to say that a lot has happened over this period in our region. We’ve seen a renewed thrust in the North coming from the bottom up: from the metro-mayors and local leaders, who are determined to get more power and funding to deliver better services to their communities; from regional newspapers, who launched a powerful campaign to #PowerUpTheNorth; from the local enterprise partnerships, who published a Manifesto for the North; and from the wider public, who expressed their call for change in the General Election vote. Last week’s State of the North IPPR North conference was another example of this.

The Government in London has paid attention to these calls. We’ve heard numerous pledges to pump investment in the North and improve our creaking transport infrastructure. New devolution deals are, allegedly, under way. We’ve been told austerity is over. And ‘levelling up’ the country is a new Whitehall mantra.

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