This poster from the Inequality Briefing cites information from the data agency of the European Union, Eurostat, to claim the poorest regions in the UK are the poorest in northern Europe.
It’s been causing much outrage on Twitter as well as on national newspaper websites. Just one problem: the facts are slightly more complicated than it implies.
Firstly there’s the measure used: “Northern Europe”. This usually means the geographical area that includes the Netherlands, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Britain, Estonia, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. The latter three countries are not in the EU and so are not measured by Eurostat, which makes it difficult to judge the veracity of the statement.
The report notes that despite Britain having a similar economic make-up to its northern European counterparts, it is a far more unequal country.
Inner London ranked as the richest area in Northern Europe in the study, but it was alone in the top ten richest list.
Meanwhile nine areas in the UK entered into the top ten poorest, with Hainaut in Belgium the lone exception.
Other research carried out by Inequality Briefing has found the gap between the richest and poorest region in the UK, in terms of disposable income, is the widest in the EU.
The findings reveal that the UK is highly dependent on London and its environs, with just one British region other than the capital – the south-east of England – having a GDP per capita in excess of the EU-15 average, meaning that just 27 per cent of the UK population live in regions wealthier than that EU average.
And far from catching-up with the richer parts of the EU, the UK’s poor regions have fallen further behind.
So what do you think?
Tell us in the comments.