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‘Levelling up’ in post-Brexit United Kingdom: Economic realism or political opportunism?

Hudson, Ray 2022. ‘Levelling up’ in post-Brexit United Kingdom: Economic realism or political opportunism? Local Economy 37 (1-2) , pp. 50-65. 10.1177/02690942221099480

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Following the 2019 general election, the Prime Minister claimed that leaving the EU would enable him to ‘get Brexit done’ and introduce policies to “level up” inequalities in a post-EU UK. There still is, however, considerable uncertainty as to exactly what the government means by this, though it seemingly includes reducing differences in economic performance and opportunities between North and South in England, how it will achieve this goal and how ‘levelling up’ relates to the policy objective of restoring national economic growth, and with the added complication of also seeking a transition to a zero-carbon green economy and society. This ambition to ‘level up’ became even more challenging as COVID-19 both further revealed and reinforced existing deep socio-spatial inequalities. A more fundamental question is whether such an ambition is realisable within the context of a capitalist economy. Even so, despite the ambiguities and uncertainties surrounding it, ‘levelling up’’ is undoubtedly a politically important message, directed at those voters, newly converted to the Conservative vision and who caused the former ‘red wall’ of Labour support partially to crumble. Some of these constituencies had not returned a Conservative MP for decades, others had never before returned a Conservative to Parliament.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Start Date: 2022-06-06
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0269-0942
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 June 2022
Last Modified: 14 May 2023 02:26

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