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Abstract:

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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Policy Paper
Strategies for Underperforming Places
Paul Lawless, Henry G. Overman and Peter Tyler
February 2011
Paper No' SERCPP006:
Full Paper (pdf)

All governments are concerned with tackling the problems of areas that experience sustained decline and underperformance. In the UK, several factors have combined to raise profound questions about future government policy in this area. First, it is becoming increasingly clear that the recession has impacted on different places in different ways. Some places have emerged relatively unscathed. For other places, the impacts have been far more negative. Unfortunately, many of the places that have suffered most were already struggling and may also be the least well placed to recover. Second, the recession has had a negative impact on the government finances. The third significant factor is, of course, the change in government with the coalition placing increasing emphasis on decentralised decision making across a range of policy areas, including those of regeneration and local economic development. Against this background, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC) jointly organised a seminar to consider Strategies for Underperforming Places. The papers presented in this report were presented at that seminar. The authors all agree the need for open debate and the importance of research in to the causes of local decline and the impact of previous policy interventions. Only by increasing our knowledge and by building on what is known will we be able to formulate appropriate policy responses to the challenges raised by the recession and its impact on struggling places.