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The economics of belonging: the hidden costs behind large cities

Rather than competing for the next big thing against stronger, larger urban economies, left-behind places would be better served by policies aimed at securing their foundational economy

By John Tomaney and Andy Pike  

Though Manchester is often used as a successful case study for city-centered strategy, much of the growth has been in low productivity, low wage sectors. Image: PA

The problems facing Britain’s former industrial regions have been well-documented. They are characterised, in contrast to national averages, by low growth; a lack of white-collar and graduate level jobs; lower than average pay and employment rates; high numbers of working-age adults in unemployment or on incapacity benefits, and high rates of poverty.

Currently, a powerful orthodoxy suggests that…

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