"The sorts of things the Tories need to do better in the north are quite similar to the rest of the country, only more so. Our polling finds that people want to see action to reduce the cost of living – particularly energy and fuel bills.
"People think that everywhere, but the feeling is strongest in the north. Just like Labour, people also want to the Tories to field more working class candidates, and more people with experience outside politics. Again, that's true everywhere, but the feeling is strongest in the north. Northerners have even tougher views on crime than people in the rest of the country.
"Under Labour, despite the best of intentions, the north south gap still grew – and that Government had lots of money to spend. Local pay bargaining could be part of the answer, and could reduce unemployment in the north. But the politics of it could be a disaster for the government - unless it can clearly show that all the money is going to stay in the different regions – rather than just being clawed back into the Treasury. For example, if public sector bodies slowed down future wage growth in parts of the country where they have no problems recruiting, they could employ more nurses, teachers and police, and reduce unemployment."