Friday, February 10, 2012
Austerity Blues #2
More on the ‘north-south divide’, with The Guardian reporting that “A stark north-south divide is laid bare by a study …. which shows towns and cities in the Midlands and the north are being hardest hit by the high street downturn.”
The problem was all too visible on a recent visit to Doncaster town centre (above) - shop vacancy rates in some northern towns are as high as 30%. But the ‘south’ is not a homogenous sea of prosperity and plenty. In the poorer districts of London (below) many shops stand empty – the averaged-out figures look a lot better than the shuttered-up shop fronts they conceal.
Are these pictures of poverty? Or austerity? They’re certainly part of the economic context, but not enough, on their own, to explain either. As I wrote recently, these are issues that cannot be captured in single frames.