Why southerners should want the north to prosper

Your interesting article on Britain's north-south divide ("And is there honey by the Tees?", 3 July) failed to mention its adverse effects on the south. For some reason, those who make decisions on location believe that the Cambridge area has a high quality of life. In fact, it has endemic traffic problems caused by a high population influx combined with car-oriented development.

The extra people are not giving us better public services (for example, we have bank closures, too) and the efficiency of public transport is badly hit by traffic delays and staff shortages (caused by a shortage of labour and high property values). As the article pointed out, the quality of the local countryside is better up north. While our area has pleasant walks, their variety is restricted by problems in getting around by public transport, problems in getting across main roads (the Highways Agency seeming to believe that only motorised traffic needs a safe route across), and sprawling development on the outskirts of every town.

I am sure that many from southern England and East Anglia would be very pleased to help northerners to a prosperous life at home, for reasons that have nothing to do with xenophobia.

Simon Norton
Cambridge

This article first appeared in the 10 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Education, education, profit