Falling behind

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Less than half of children born into the poorest families in the North reach a good standard of development by the time they are five years old.

The poorest children are also falling behind their peers born into poverty in London, in a stark “early years gap”.

Just 47% of the poorest children in the North achieve a good level of development in their early years – their peers in London enjoy a 12% point head start, where 59% cent meet the standard.

In our annual State of the North report, we looked at what is required to create a successful northern economy.

It found the potential of its people is being held back at all stages of their lives, starting before they even reach school.

Closing the gap in early years achievement is one of 11 benchmarks against which progress of the Northern Powerhouse should be assessed to benefit people living and working in the North.

If the Northern Powerhouse is to drive national prosperity, these figures show the challenges it must overcome to become a reality.

We will never become a powerhouse economy when our children and young people have such a poor start in life. It will take a generation of investment, not only in new railways and motorways, but in the “human capital” of the North.

Economic powers must be devolved to all corners of the North to allow businesses and policy-makers to develop an economy that supports more productive, resilient and sustainable growth, and jobs that pay well to that prosperity is shared, with opportunities for all.

Ed Cox,

Director at IPPR North.