Young people ‘will inherit a North rich in assets but poor in opportunity’, says think-tank

A think-tank report says 'Millenials' and 'Generation Z' will need to unlock the potential of the North.

Brexit will have nearly twice the impact on the North’s economy by 2030 as it will on London’s, according to a report published today which urges the Government to “devolve real economic power” to the region.

Leading think-tank IPPR North has called for a new generation of leaders to unlock the potential of the North more effectively than their predecessors and turn it into a “leading federal state in a world-leading federal nation”. It comes as political leaders in Yorkshire try to reach an agreement on a devolution deal after months of deadlock.

The IPPR says Brexit will have a bigger impact on the North's economy than London's.

Setting out its vision for how the region could look in 13 years, it says millennials, aged 22 to 37, and ‘Generation Z’, aged 21 and younger, will form the overwhelming majority of the workforce, but will “inherit a North rich in assets but poor in opportunity”.

It said: “They will have to tackle unprecedented environmental, social and economic disruption, all the while caring for an ageing population who are set to live longer, but in poorer health and at high cost.”

The annual ‘State of the North’ report predicts that Brexit will have nearly twice the impact on the North’s gross domestic product as London’s, partly because it is more dependent on trade with the EU.

It also warns that the North will need 2.7 million more working-age people to support its ageing population, and that 40 per cent of all northern jobs are in occupations at high risk of being taken by robots or other types of automation.

In just over a decade the North’s millennials will make up the majority of the region’s electorate and more than two-thirds of the working-age population.

Luke Raikes, IPPR North

Report author Luke Raikes, a Senior Research Fellow at IPPR North, said: “In just over a decade the North’s millennials will make up the majority of the region’s electorate and more than two-thirds of the working-age population.

“They already clipped Theresa May’s wings in this year’s General Election and will have no qualms in condemning the Government’s watered-down plans for the North or the country.

“They will inherit a number of huge challenges from the older generations. Climate change is likely to have severe effects, robots and automation could threaten their job opportunities, and they will have to pay for the care of older people who live much longer than ever before.

“They didn’t cause these problems but they will have to find the solutions.

“The North has some of the assets they need to do this, but they have been wasted and run down by central government over the last century. In this century the North’s millennials will take charge”.

Councillors in Doncaster and Barnsley are set to decide today whether to hold a community poll for residents to vote on the future of devolution in South Yorkshire. If the plans announced last week are approved, voters would be asked to choose between the government-backed Sheffield City Region deal or a proposed Yorkshire-wide deal.

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