We welcome Simon Clarke MP to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities and we offer any help to him as he begins to understand the depth and breadth of his portfolio. Our Policy Impact book Levelling Up Left Behind Places: The Scale and Nature of the Economic and Policy Challenge, co-authored by Professor Ron Martin, Dr Ben Gardiner, Professor Andy Pike, Professor Peter Sunley and Professor Peter Tyler, presents novel analyses of the scale, nature and geographies of the economically ‘left behind’ place problem.
The book examines why past urban and regional policies, going as far back as 1928, have not succeeded in achieving a more spatially equitable distribution of economic prosperity and opportunity. Having identified significant limitations and weaknesses of past policy, the book argues that a major transformative spatial policy model will be necessary to reduce geographical economic inequalities.
Key foundational principles are set out for a mission-orientated strategy, including:
- Embedding geography in national policy making and economic governance.
- Commitment of resources on a scale appropriate to the magnitude of the task.
- A federated system of city-region authorities with substantial devolved powers and funding.
- Strengthening of a bottom-up, place-based dimension to policy design and implementation.
Although the book is focused on the UK, there are lessons from the policy discussion that will be of relevance for other countries in which governments face challenges of levelling up those of their towns, cities and regions that have been left behind.
Books published in the Policy Impact Book Series are outcomes from the RSA funded Policy Expo Grant Scheme.