Reporter 462, 26 February 2001

A million jobs are needed in the north

The government needs to create a million jobs in northern towns and cities to prevent people moving to the countryside and the south, according to research carried out for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) by Philip Rees, Professor of Population Geography.

Professor Rees and his team worked with geographers from the University of Newcastle to compile a migration model for the DETR.

Migration study Professor Philip Rees

It shows that raising the growth rate of northern towns by five percent and the employment rate by five percent would lead to 13,000 more people moving there but only 3,000 fewer leaving.

Presenting the findings at the Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society at the University of Plymouth, Professor Rees said that a million jobs were needed to stop between 50,000 to 100,000 people leaving northern towns and cities every year.

Professor Rees said: "My feeling is that the DETR will want to connect migration and the policies which affect it with their household policy. This would help them decide, amongst other things, where it is best to build new houses.

"However, this is not how household policy has been developed in the past and it will mark a step change for the Government."

The DETR is currently working with the software produced by Professor Rees and the team, and is expected to ask for more work to be done on the migration model, and how it can be integrated with household policy. But like many things, this could all depend on the timing and result of the general election.

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