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Economy class: public or private?

The Tories blame a bloated public sector for economic stagnation in parts of Britain—but the private sector won’t automatically step in

By Tim Leunig   August 2010

Everyone agrees that the economic disparities between north and south need to be tackled. It is unacceptable that a child born in one part of Britain has hugely different life chances to one born a few hundred miles away. The chancellor, George Osborne, was careful to state that the recent emergency Budget would “promote job creation in all parts of the country.” The government is rightly sceptical of the record of public-sector regeneration schemes, but goes further in seeing the size of the public sector as a barrier to regeneration.

The state is certainly a heavyweight employer in some places.…

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