North-South Divide - This Time It's Real

It now seems to be universally recognised that public spending cuts will have an effect on the housing market for some time to come.

This will take two forms. Firstly, individuals whose families are largely reliant on breadwinners in the public sectors will be far less inclined to move house given the uncertainty over jobs and pay; secondly, some regions will inevitably suffer more than others.

It’s easy to fall into the glib journalistic cliché of a North-South Divide but, well, that’s what we have.

The figures below, produced by the Office for National Statistics and Oxford Economics, and collated by Savills, tell the story.

The ‘£’ figures are average weekly salaries, and the ‘Public V Private’ column shows where public sector employees earn more, or less, than private sector counterparts.

The '% Public’ column shows the proportion of the workforce employed in the public sector, and arguably therefore more directly vulnerable to spending cuts than those self-employed working for private companies.

But we know that in a relatively small country like the UK, with such a relatively large public sector, many in the private sector will also be reliant on public sector contracts.

In other words, everyone will be squeezed. But as these figures show, some will be squeezed more than others - and it will be those outside London and the south east.

PRIVATE V PUBLIC SALARIES (£/week and %age public v private)

Northern Ireland: 380 v 488 (public pay 128% of private)
(public sector = 29% of workforce)

Wales: £397 v £436 (110%) (24% of workforce)

North East: £406 v £435 (107%) (23%)

Yorks/Humberside: £428 v £427 (100%) (21%)

North West: £442 v £439 (99%) (21%)

West Midlands: £441 v £437 (98%) (21%)

Scotland: £461 v £450 (97%) (23%)

East Midlands: £450 v £430 (95%) (18%)

South West: £441 v £414 (94%) (19%)

East Anglia: £473 v 428 (91%) (18%)

London: £714 v £597 (84%) (18%)

South East: £529 v £437 (83%) (17%)

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