Beyond Watford

Brown's client state crowds out the private sector to such an extent that Soviet economies are being created outside of London and the south east.

THE growth in public spending in northern areas of Britain is so rampant that it is resulting in the “sovietisation” of swathes of the country, new figures show.

Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has pushed up national public spending beyond the levels of former communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The dependence on the public sector of the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has grown so sharply over the past year that many areas are now significantly more reliant on public spending than countries such as Sweden, known for the bloated size of its welfare state.

If one looks at the regional breakdown of productivity statistics on the ONS site, there is a clear correlation between regions with high public spending and low productivity. In the series since 1998, the position of the regions north and west of London have, in the main, deteriorated. One could conclude that devolution and subsidies do not work. No surprises there!!!