England

Spending cuts 'to hit north harder': Your stories

BBC-commissioned research suggests that parts of northern England could be more vulnerable to cutbacks than the south of the country.

Middlesbrough is ranked as the most at risk, followed by Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, and Stoke-on-Trent.

BBC News website readers have been explaining what life is like in their area.

Richard Smith, Nelson, Lancashire

I work for a holiday firm which has actually done very well during the recession due to stay at home vacations, however we are predicting a very rocky year ahead because of the budget cuts.

The area has been hit by the recent closure of a large call centre in the neighbouring town of Burnley, and a lot of firms in my borough of Pendle have gone into receivership.

My mum is a school cook and she's worried about the affects the cuts will have on her.

In the north west of England, Manchester and Liverpool are totally different from Lancashire. They seem to have better skilled employment than where I'm from, and also companies such as digital ones prefer to open an office in Manchester or Liverpool than in rural areas such as East Lancashire.

High street retail shopping has been affected badly in Burnley - a lot of shops closed when the recession kicked in.

In Nelson, the supermarkets destroyed the town centre years ago, but they are trying to revitalise the town centre. The only problem is we don't have any shops apart from a Wilkinson's.

I am very worried about how the public sector is going to be hit by cuts - it all has a knock-on effect. Some workers will not be earning anymore so will be spending less, which will have an impact on holiday bookings on which my firm depends.

John Spence, Middlesbrough

I run a 115-year-old plumbing, heating and building company.

Middlesbrough is a small town run by people with small ideas based on the university and nothing else, if we could move we would.

There are two Middlesbroughs; one is the life on social housing with an average income of £12,000 per year, the other is the public sector and Teesside University, without which Middlesbrough would collapse.

The public sector has no idea about reality and continues to get pay rises and promotions, yet staff in my firm have been on a pay freeze and pay cut for two years.

We have a lot of very good business in the area but I know of several family firms that have been sent to the scrap heap.

Middlesbrough can be changed but it needs fewer figure heads in smart suits, and more staff sitting and talking with local businesses.

They don't all need pots of cash - they just need pointing in the right direction and some simple help.

Chris Havercroft, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire

I work for an aerospace company and have been a tax-paying Mansfield resident for the last 27 years.

It comes as no surprise to hear that Mansfield is on the list. It is situated right in the heart of the country with easy access from anywhere, with plenty of industrial estates and local businesses, but as the report states, unemployment and crime affect this little town.

I think the problem with unemployment is because of the attitude towards education and working that different generations in the town have. If you want to learn and get employed then that's down to people's individual motivation and enthusiasm.

This area does seem to be growing economically with business parks being extended quite regularly.

But the busy market is now just a tiny one compared to 10 years ago. Most of the old industries like textile and mining are no longer the main employers.

Yes, there are a few empty shops but I think that has always been the case for this area.

If the council can't cope with these spending cuts, the bigger ones like Nottinghamshire County Council should really step in and help as we pay towards that council too.