Thursday, August 14, 2008

Them oop north already on their bikes

I'm bemused by the bleating about Cities Unlimited, the Policy Exchange report suggesting the good people of Hull p***s off down south.

From what I gather (I haven't read the full report), it doesn't dismiss the north outright. It acknowledges that cities, such as Leeds and Manchester, are vibrant and happening places. Its sin is to suggest that some towns, such as Hull and Sunderland, are beyond regeneration and the Government should just give up and hope everyone living there b****rs off to Oxford.

Is this news? Don't they know that everyone in Hull who isn't either unemployed or working for the public sector has already got on their bike and b****d off to Leeds, Manchester or London? I am case in point. Born seven miles from Hull and schooled there, I p***d off down south aged 19.

I'm defining public sector broadly here, of course - there are lots of jobs in Hull working as legal aid solicitors and a few at the theatre (all private sector, but at least partly Government funded). Most graduate and professional public sector jobs in Hull are as teachers and doctors, but there is also a significant minority of people employed in the 'regeneration industry' - planning and rebuilding the city, and trying to get the unemployed into jobs.

The city centre has been repeatedly knocked down and regenerated for as long as I can remember. Enterprise Zones, Millennium Projects - you name it, they've tried it. Unfortunately, it's at the end of the line (literally) and the easiest place to get to from Hull is Holland. And why go to somewhere that the Government's trying to make edgy and educated when you can go to Leeds which already is?

Sometimes I wonder if the kindest thing would be to stop rebuilding Hull, slowly and voluntarily rehouse people in the council estates, and wait for nature to take its course. The natural rate of outmigration is so rapid that, without the vast public-funded regeneration industry to hold people in place, Hull would probably become a medium-sized town within 30 years.


  • At 4:56 pm , Anonymous Biscit said...

    I struggled for several months to get work within commuting distance of Beverley. Only people offering anything near my line of work was Kingston communications- and they didn't want me.

    Then after my wedding, I had a seizure which pretty much meant I was stuck in the job 10 minutes walk from my house, so Sarah moved here, and still travels to hull two days a week.

    Oddly my wife has only got on her bike as far as selling her house, and moving in with me- she hasn't been able to fine equivalent work to her Hull Uni job in Leeds-Bradford.


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