METRO mayor Steve Rotheram is urging the Government to take action on a recent report which revealed the north of England continued to be the hardest hit by cuts to public spending in 2018.

The State Of The North 2018 report, from IPPR North, found that public spending in the north had fallen by £6.3 billion since 2009/2010 - compared to the significant £3.2 billion boost areas such as the South East and South West had seen from central Government.

The publication also laid out five priorities for northern leaders to take agenda into a new phase; commit to a ‘whole north’ approach, support job creation and productivity in high-growth and large-employment sectors of the economy, invest in both infrastructure and people, deliver economic justice and lead from the north.

The Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “I welcome this report which is an important contribution to the case for greater devolution and investment in the north and I hope ministers in Whitehall will act on its recommendations.

“The report could not be clearer: with the uncertainty of Brexit looming, giving the north more control over its destiny is not only the right thing for the north’s economy, but the whole country’s as well.

“The north has huge potential for growth in advanced manufacturing, energy, health innovation and digital industries, but we can only capitalise on these fully if the government give us the powers and the funding to do so.

“This report also exposes the unfairness of austerity which has reduced funding for Northern public services by over £6bn, while at same time funding for the South has risen by over £3 billion.

"With police, fire and council services stretched beyond breaking point the government must act now and properly fund services in the north.”

Among the report's findings found weekly pay in the north has fallen by £21 since 2008 while two million adults and one million children live on the poverty line.

Eight of the 10 worst hit police forces are in the north and London has received twice as much transport spending per head than the UK average.

Director of IPPR North, Sarah Longlands said: "The north has started to see the impacts of the Northern Powerhouse agenda most noticeably with the elected mayors, the growing recognition of the north's external profile and the creation of Transport for the north.

"However too many of the North's people and places are yet to feel the benefits.

"Many families depend upon precarious and poorly paid jobs and levels of healthy life expectancy in many areas constrain the opportunities of people to play an active role in their local economy.

"Now is the time to develop the Northern Powerhouse agenda in to a plan which works for the people of the north providing them with opportunities to share in the potential economic opportunities of the future."

However, the Government say that the north is 'thriving' with record numbers of employment.

A spokesman said: "Never before has it had such a powerful local voice, following the election of four new metro mayors, and a fifth on the way, who we have empowered to champion their communities and build on this success.

"We are also backing the whole of the Northern Powerhouse with £3.4 billion to boost local economic growth and a record £13 billion in transport improvements, meaning almost £250 per person - more than any other region - will be invested next year to help commuters and motorists across the north."