Stat of the day: 19%

The rise in business distress in the north-east, compared with a 6% drop in London.

It looks like the north-south divide could be in danger of turning into a giant black hole. A report by accountancy firm Begbies Traynor says that the North East has seen a 19% rise in the number of companies facing severe financial distress. The North West saw a 12% increase, and Yorkshire 10%.

Meanwhile, the number of businesses in London and the South East facing financial difficulties dropped 6% and 3% respectively. It’s thought the North is taking the brunt of public-sector cuts and the government’s austerity measures.

Elsewhere, another set of figures by property website Rightmove shows that properties in the South are worth double those in the North. The average asking price in the South is £336,743, compared to £164,347 in the North.

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