North East England has been at or near the bottom of the UK’s economic performance charts for decades. Governments of all parties have promised ‘levelling up’, to use the current phrase, but have failed to deliver for the people. The people, mainly, have put up with it, returning the same party to Westminster and to their local town halls time and again.
Over the past six decades economic plans have come and gone – the Hailsham Plan (1963), Challenge of the Changing North (Dan Smith’s plan – 1966), the North Regional Strategy Team’s plan (1977), Unlocking Our Potential (One North East, 1999), Leading the Way (One North East, 2006), More and Better Jobs (North East Local Enterprise Partnership, 2014). Yet this is the region’s unemployment record since 1992 (earliest available):
The region has always been above the national average, and usually above every other region too.