Theresa May’s Industrial Strategy must work for Sheffield, the city of low pay
The Prime Minister has launched her much-vaunted industrial strategy. The measure of its success has to be whether it works for cities like Sheffield and the rest of the North.
The Resolution Foundation released a report last week which found that incomes in Sheffield have not recovered, and nor grown, nine years on from the financial crash. Sheffield is now the lowest paid city in the UK.
But there is stark inequality within and not just between our great cities. Eight years ago, A Tale of Two Cities was released which shone a light on that inequality. You can track the route of the 83 bus from one of the seven hills that Sheffield sits on through the city centre to one of the poorest wards. In just 40 minutes life expectancy falls by 10 years.
But similar bus routes which match inequality can be found all over the country. These journeys highlight how Britain has divided over the last three decades. If you ride these routes you see the signs of an economic model which has unquestionably failed us all. Many people at the wealthier end of the routes are now no longer doing well. In particular, affluent elderly residents also suffer when health and social care fails. The young are reporting lost hope in our future with 2017 revealing the worse ever outcomes reported in an annual survey of their prospects.