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To help Britain’s towns we need a great economic rebalancing

My own trip to Oldham showed me what’s required—serious investment and devolution of power. (This article features in “All about towns,” Prospect’s new report in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

By Ben Chu  

ormer mill conversions provide ideal homes for new companies. Photo: Joel Goodman

It wasn’t for nothing that when I was sent by BBC’s Newsnight to investigate Britain’s yawning regional inequalities, I pitched up, one chilly spring evening, at the Premier Inn on Oldham Broadway.

In 2015 Oldham was identified as the most deprived town in England by the Office for National Statistics. When you throw gauges of well-being such as income, health, skills and housing into a statistical cauldron and stir it around, the place that, apparently, comes out the lowest…

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