Posted by: lucylastic | August 14, 2008

New job? Move south!

Was anyone else as utterly gobsmacked as I was to hear the findings of a report by the ‘Exchange Policy’ think-tank last week, which had the temerity to suggest that northeners should ‘move to the south-east’ if they wanted a decent standard of living? I know it’s silly season, but who on earth ever thought that such utter dross was worthy of being turned into so-called informed analysis. Apparently, the conclusions were driven by (amongst other) observations that ‘cities such as Liverpool and Sunderland have lost their ‘raison d’etre’ with the decline of the shipping industry’. I accept that they are not the bustling ports they may once have been, but the opportunities for non shipping development are myriad. not to mention the joy and pleasure to be derived from living on the coast, watching the ever changing skies and feeling closer to nature in all her elements. Let’s all head for Milton Keynes instead! The ‘think-tank’, (who obviously didn’t think enough in my view) didn’t appear to give any consideration to the relative cost of living between those areas. One of it’s authors, Tim Leunig had the sense to acknowledge that people may find the conclusions ‘plain barmy’ – but surely this doesn’t really get him off the hook? Why put your name to something you think others will assess as ‘barmy’, I wouldn’t!

The ‘think-tank’ might have been more usefully employed to actually go and ask local people what they want – they usually know best. Liverpool is a great city – I grew up opposite its shores on the Wirral and it was a regular Saturday destination during my formative years. The Liverpool of today has changed almost beyond recognition – not necessarily a bad thing given that we’re talking 35 years ago – but it does seem to have lost sight of the need to entertain its local population as well as the tourists who come for ‘the Beatles experience’ or the ‘Tall Ships extravaganza’. A visit to the newly refurbished docks is great if you are new to the area, but the chi-chi shops and over-priced eateries are hardly going to be the regular haunts of the locals are they? The Liverpool of 2008 strikes me as a bit soul-less and occasionally heart-less – a collection of shops straggling up from the docks, a very flash new John Lewis, (while the old premises languish amidst other empty offices and retail buildings) and the wonderful museum don’t quite hang together for me – and I don’t think I’m the only one.

A spot of ‘Googling’ on this topic reveals that the report has already caused a great deal of debate – not a single one I have come across agrees with the outcome. In fact, a unifying theme is to keep investing money in these areas and attract new businesses and people to live there. When I was looking for a new job a few months ago, it was increasingly likely to see jobs advertisied in Lancashire and Yorkshire – a number of big companies have seen the wisdom of moving to these destinations – with a big talent pool, reasonable housing prices and shorter commutes to name just a few benefits. I was southern born – Salisbury, but northern bred – the Wirral and I would happliy make the move north again – the only barrier I see is that most of my and my husband’s family are located in the south – I imagine that many people fall into the same category – it’s all very well chasing a new job as a singleton, but for families with roots it’s no easy task to just up sticks and hope for a better opportunity 250 miles away.

And whatever happened to the ‘work from home’ revolution anyway? Location is meant to be getting less important, not more!



  1. I’m going to come across all Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, but you have to ask how much tax payers’ money was wasted on this ridiculous think tank report!

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