A new report argues that fifty years of urban policy have failed to revitalise the economies of Britain’s Northern towns. If they’re right, the very future of our Northern cities may have to be rethought
Those who know me will be surprised to hear I’ve been reading a Policy Exchange report recently. PE, for those who don’t keep up with the ever-growing roster of UK think-tanks, is the leading centrist (read: sane) entity amongst the conservative ‘tanks. Unlike its crazier cousins, such as Civitas and Politeia, Policy Exchange serves as more than a mouthpiece for bored minor ex-ministers and a peddler of slightly silly state-the-obvious reports.1 Despite the concerns of the Fourth International, PE is essentially a serious enterprise. And, determined to be taken as seriously as lefties such as IPPR, PE has taken the radical step of commissioning and publishing actual academic research by actual academics.
This report, into the history of Britain’s urban policy, makes depressing, if fascinating reading. Five or six decades of urban policy, it argues, have essentially failed.