Tony Blair has presided over a widening north-south gap in the 10 years since he became prime minister, says a report published today. Financial Times

The report, Never Had It So Good? The North-East under New Labour 1997 – 2007, was funded by the Millfield House Foundation and carried out by Fred Robinson of Durham University, and published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Labour election victory.

The north-east of England has been singled out as lagging behind the rest of the UK economy. The region, which includes the prime minister's Sedgefield constituency, has shared in the UK’s rising prosperity, but its performance was worse in 2005 than in 1997 when compared with the UK average.

The research notes 'some limited evidence' of recent relative improvement in the region’s growth rate but says the north-east’s economy still lags behind, and is virtually at the bottom of, the UK economic performance league table.