Centre for Cities has produced much valuable analysis of the UK’s geographical inequalities, not least how best to measure and address them (including challenging the populist passion for regarding “levelling up” as simply a matter of closing the so-called “north-south divide” by beating up London). Last week, the Centre hosted a presentation by Andy Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England and chair of the Industrial Strategy Council.
The whole one hour 15 minute event is embedded below, complete with introduction by and questions from Centre for Cities chief executive Andrew Carter and others. Haldane stresses that geographical inequalities within regions are greater than those between them and explores the implications of Covid for cities and towns and for the government’s “levelling up” aspirations (whatever exactly they are). He maps and tracks the possible effects of Covid on big city “agglomeration” and considers whether any lessening of this, brought about by more home-based and remote working, might widen and strengthen the economic embrace of big cities to the advantage of suburbs and nearby towns.
His conclusions? Covid is “reshaping” the problems that must be solved to “level up” – problems that require a proper long-term strategy, not just “piecemeal” policies. And, among other things, greater devolution is vital. Watch it all.
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