As we move towards Brexit, there are three possible paths for local economic development, says Neil McInroy. For many years the dominant approach has failed to build a local economy for all. Brexit makes the challenge harder and it needs to make a huge step up. Under the auspices of devolution, mainstream economic development has followed traditional lines around investment in hard infrastructure, civic boosterism, city centres, planning relaxation and post-19 skills. Overall it has slotted into and complied with the Treasury economic model – favouring agglomeration economics and narrow wealth concentration. All this has meant that mainstream economic development has been socially failing, and presided over growing economic imbalances. This failing partly fuelled the Brexit vote. On the one hand, economic growth passed many by. The despairing have-nots lost hope. Come the referendum, they had nothing to lose and many voted for the change of Brexit. On the other, … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Neil Mclnroy
Neil McInroy is chief executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES)