Media release – Resolver complaints data reveals the scale of ‘levelling up’ required to tackle the North / South divide

2 min read
March 04, 2020

As the new Chancellor prepares to deliver his first Budget, Resolver’s complaints data reveals the huge scale of ‘levelling up’ that will be required in order to meet the Government’s commitment to tackle disparities between the North and South.

Exclusive data from Resolver examining over half a million complaints has revealed that people in the North of England and Scotland have significantly higher cause for complaint about vital infrastructure sectors.

Resolver examined complaints about energy, telecommunications, travel and water services. Overall, Resolver found that people living in the North and Scotland experienced more problems with every area of infrastructure, apart from the water sector. They reported strikingly higher issues concerning debt, billing, availability of services and customer service issues when compared to the South.

North vs South

  • Energy: People in the North of England made 50% more complaints about debt related problems and had to make nearly a third more complaints about customer service than people in the South.
  • Telecoms – Complaints about telecoms billing and pricing problems were 43% higher in the North, often linked to technical problems or limitations of service. A quarter more people complained about customer services too.
  • Travel – If you get a train, bus or plane in the North, you’re 30% more likely to encounter a problem with delays. Nearly 20% are struggling more to get refunds through ‘delay repay’ too.

Scotland vs South

  • Energy: Huge numbers of people are experiencing problems with incorrect meter readings in Scotland (60%) and switching supplier was over 50% more likely to result in a complaint along with basic account problems (also 60% higher).
  • Telecoms: Poor signals make up 15% more complaints in Scotland and a third more people experienced problems with customer service.
  • Travel: A further third of people in Scotland experienced problems with delayed or cancelled flights and nearly 20% more had problems with bookings across the whole travel sector.

The data shows that people in the North and Scotland are facing challenges in their everyday lives when trying to pay or switch energy supplier, use their mobile, access a decent broadband signal and get connected with transport services, from trains and buses to planes, also posing major concerns.

Resolver’s chief executive, Alex Neill, said:

It’s clear from our data that the North–South divide really does exist. People in the North and Scotland are being left behind, with a huge range of important services not delivering for them.

We all struggle to access, connect or use essential services like energy, telecoms and transport at times – but this is hitting those in the North and Scotland much harder.

The Chancellor must use the forthcoming Budget to address the causes of the complaints people are making, so the infrastructure of the UK offers the same opportunities for all.

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