Regional Disparities in UK
UK has been affected by various socio-economic changes since a last few years this is the reason why regional disparities exist in this country. Martin (1997) explains in his book that there are certain disparities that exist among and within British regions with regards to productivity, wages, per capita income, employment participation rates as well as unemployment rates. Within UK the per capita GDP is highest in London which is £34,200 and lowest in South East England that is approximately £15,621. (Martin R., 1997. Regional unemployment disparities and their dynamics, Regional Studies 31(3), pp.237-252)
UK has been experiencing difficult and complex situation because of inequalities in its urban and rural areas as well as inequalities in industrial and agricultural structure. The country is facing recession and this has lead to disparities in employment rates and earnings even in between local regions. UK government has been working to assist strong regions in order to maximize their potential growth and at the same time the government is assisting weaker regions so that they are able to function properly. In a report by DTI (2003) it has been explained that nations and regions of United Kingdom have been left behind for too long this is the reason why there has been differences within regions. The report says due to lack of suitable policies UK has been affected badly and therefore there is a need to develop new regional framework for all UK regions. (Dti, 2003. A modern regional policy for united kingdom. [online] Available at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file12012.pdf)
There is a need of applying new approach that would help in building, strengthening, boosting and growing regions as they act to be the core over which the economic success of UK is depending. There are plenty of social and economic factors that affect the regional structure of UK. Some of these factors include; macroeconomic instability, decentralization of regions, application of regional policy framework within different regions and flexibility of regions to adapt to new policies. It can be said that regional disparities would remain there unless until a proper economic development policy is not adapted by the UK government. Although in recent years, the government has worked towards regionalization of its different policies and hence different regions have become more accountable to the central government. (EPRC, 2010. European policies research centre. [online] Available at: http://www.eprc.strath.ac.uk/eprc/)
Regional Disparities in France
Regional disparities in France have increased instead of decreasing in the recent years. French regional problems involve the fact that Paris has been over shadowing other provinces. Moreover, industrial development had greatly impacted the traditional agricultural industry of France. Due to such complicated issues, new types of rural and urban problems have started to increase in France. More specifically, the urban structure of the country has been greatly affected by regional disparities that lead to employment issues, social issues, financial issues, high rise in housing costs and much more. Smaller towns have to bear the inequality due to government’s focus on making Paris one of the most popular cities of the world. Ile de France is considered to be the wealthiest region with GDP of 51,100 Euros per capita and Corsica is considered to be to be weaker in terms of wealth with 23,800 Euros GDP per capita. (EPRC, 2010. European policies research centre. [online] Available at: http://www.eprc.strath.ac.uk/eprc/)
Scargill (1991) explains that in the past 30 years France has undergone various social, economic and political changes. These changes have lead to regional inequalities and due to this inequality French provinces cannot be given distinction. East of France which was previously regarded as a prosperous industrial region has suffered badly and employment losses have increased on a huge scale. Whereas South and West side of France has experienced growth in industrial as well as service sectors over the years. (Ian Scargill., 1991. Regional inequality in france: persistence and change [online] Available at: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40572121?uid=3738032&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=55907017013)
France has worked on national regional policies and did come up with a policy called ‘The Framework Law for Sustainable Regional Development’ in June 1999. This law framework emphasized on demand led services on the basis of equity not equality. The policy framework made sure to diminish projects that exploited resources and come up with projects that lead to as less regional disparity as possible. Furthermore, in 2002 a revised regional strategy was introduced by the government that lead to the encouragement of France as a European region and to develop the large towns of this region in order to attain national development. But still there are inequalities in place and regions find it hard to respect the identity of central government and local authorities belonging to different territories. There are many institutes and national instruments like regional aids, long term planning measures and state-region planning that the French government uses in order to diminish regional disparities. (EPRC, 2010. European policies research centre. [online] Available at: http://www.eprc.strath.ac.uk/eprc/)
Comparison of Regional Disparities Between UK and France
While considering the economies of UK and France it can be clearly observed that regional disparity among French regions is far less as compared to that of UK regions. Moreover, France is considered to be the wealthiest regional economy when compared with United Kingdom. Ile de France the most important region of France that also surrounds Paris and it is also the largest regional economy in the whole Europe because this region has great access to resources like; industrial development, tourism, green technologies and much more. Whereas other regions of France are not as widely exposed to development as Ile de France is. Apart from urban areas there are some rural areas like; Limousin, Auvergne, etc that have been regionally promoted for further growth and development. (Webber D, and P. White, 2003. Regional factor price convergence across four major European countries, Regional Studies 37 (8), pp. 773-782)
Apart from France, UK economy is widely hit by regional disparity. England has got more advantage with regards to gross value product and Scotland is just behind England. Moreover, due to factors like; geographical location, exposure to major resources, educational rate, rate of employment, financial conditions and a few more important factors contribute to regional disparities in UK. While comparing with the economy of France, it can be clearly observed that UK is more affected due to regional disparity and certain important measures should be taken in order to minimize this state of disparity. (Douglas A., 2001. Developments in loca area GDP, economic trends.TSO: London)
Douglas A., 2001. Developments in loca area GDP, economic trends.TSO: London
Ian Scargill., 1991. Regional inequality in france: persistence and change [online] Available at: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40572121?uid=3738032&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=55907017013 [accessed 17 march 2012]
Martin R., 1997. Regional unemployment disparities and their dynamics, Regional Studies 31(3), pp.237-252.
Webber D, and P. White, 2003. Regional factor price convergence across four major European countries, Regional Studies 37 (8), pp. 773-782.
Dti, 2003. A modern regional policy for united kingdom. [online] Available at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file12012.pdf [accessed 17 March 2012].
EPRC, 2010. European policies research centre. [online] Available at: http://www.eprc.strath.ac.uk/eprc/ [accessed 17 March 2012].