Attempting to ‘level up’ the UK’s ‘left-behind’ places — or to reduce inequality based on geography — is a huge challenge. The pattern of inequality is complex: there are differences and divisions between places on a range of scales, so there are competing priorities for action.
At the largest scale is the North–South divide. For decades, southern England has had higher average incomes, house prices and productivity than most ‘northern’ regions, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (Figure 1). These differences have occurred mainly because London is in the south, and its world-city status means it attracts a great deal of investment from other countries, including emerging economies in Asia and the Middle East.
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