On page 22 of the Conservative Manifesto:

Does this mean “ooh, how unfair that the South is hogging all the economic wealth, making the UK all fat-bottomed”?  Or, “look, the Isle of Wight is up there with Northern Ireland?”

Do they think this is an unnatural state of affairs, somehow caused by government meddling?  The public sector is allowed to dominate too much up North – we’ll end that, and watch the Private Sector bloom?  It seems so:

“We will increase the private sector’s share of the economy in all regions of the country, especially outside London and the South East.”

This is one pledge I am certain they can achieve.  Cut the public sector, and the private sector’s share will grow by definition (so long as it doesn’t go into recession).  The denominator falls so the ratio rises.   And some useful effects might eventually help the private sector in absolute terms: see Alison Wolf’s piece about the problem with national wage bargaining, and the public sector crowding out the private.

However, there is no endorsement of this sensible idea in the Conservative blurb that follows – in fact, a load of stuff about fuller airplanes and high speed rail.   A lovely intruiging picture followed by a fairly empty message.


11 thoughts on “What is the idea behind this graphic?

  1. It also of course in large part reflects population tends. Only London (by 70%) is massively different from its population share of the country – Wales is next worse (off 25%) but then Yorks & Humberside (off 16%) nowhere else is more than 15% different.

    I took the lesson that no-one at CCO can PDF something correctly, which is why it is so blurry (not that great in ‘high-def’ mode they offer either). But I think the idea was:

    “Ooh, look at unequal Labour have let the country get”

    From all this (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/gva1209.pdf) I learn interestingly that the region with the highest GDP/head is inner-London West, with a GVA of £101,000k times the natural average, but Inner-London East is only third on £31k (Edinburgh in-between on £33k) but surely the City, and this is done on place of work, is in the latter?

    Also apparently financial intermediation was a smaller share of London’s economy in 2000 than manufacturing, but by 2007 was nearly four times as large.

  2. It shows the inequality in GDP per square km 🙂 in a fair society each square meter should have the same GDP, right?

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head!

      David Cameron should stand on some barren Yorkshire moor and declaim “It is a shocking fact that this acre here earns a TENTH of what the West End manages. New Labour have FAILED”

      I am going to use this in an article – thanks Simon

  3. Morning Giles,
    What’s the meaning of this map?
    A Conservative spokesperson last night actually said, “For instance in the North West 70% of GDP is “””taken”””” by the Government.
    The intention of this line (backed by the map) is to maintain that, thanks to Labour/big government, 70% of what is rightfully ours in the North West has been misappropriated (stolen) from us.

  4. Hi Bill

    Which is clearly nonsense as well. A large proportion of the incomes in the north west come from those taxes.


  5. Matthew- you need to be careful comparing GVA and GDP, as the former is on a location of production basis, and the latter on a residency basis. Thus a Woking resident working in London is GVA London but GDP Woking. Also, the income of the retired is GDP but not GVA – which matters for (say) Cornwall. Finally, GVA excludes all sorts of things – like production by multinationals, for which a value can be hard to assign to a particular plant. eg If a car is designed in London, the engine engineered in Germany, the engine built in Japan, and the final car assembled in France from components from around the world, how much value was produced by the London design studio?

    1. That is extremely useful, thanks Tim – saved me from making some rather spectacular misstatements about where money is made in this country.

  6. Thanks Tim – but that’s partly my point about inner London East, which is where the City (and Docklands?) is, and yet doesn’t have many rich residents, so one would think GVA would be higher there (or nearer to) that of inner London West?

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