Move south, it's too grim up north, says Tory think tank

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A LEADING Tory think tank is urging people from cities in the north of England to move south if they want a better life.

Cities such as Liverpool are beyond revival and millions of their residents should move to London and the South-east instead, the Policy Exchange think tank claims today in a report.

The conclusion will prove controversial and is untimely as the Tory leader, David Cameron, starts a tour of regional cities today to try to win over sceptical voters.

Coastal cities such as Liverpool and Sunderland had "lost much of their raison d'tre" with the decline of shipping and had "little prospect of offering their residents the standard of living to which they aspire," the report states.

It was time to be "realistic about the ability of cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to regenerate struggling neighbours, such as Liverpool, Bradford and Sunderland.

"No-one is suggesting that residents should be forced to move, but we do argue that they should be told the reality of the position: regeneration, in the sense of convergence, will not happen, because it is not possible," the authors conclude.

The university cities of Oxford and Cambridge were well placed to become economic power-houses, the report argues, like the industrial north in the past.

The authors included Tim Leunig, a lecturer in economic history at the London School of Economics, who says:

"The issue is clear: current regeneration policies are failing the very people they are supposed to be helping."

And he added: "There is no evidence that the trend will be reversed without radical changes."

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