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Regional disparities in the United Kingdom

John Bachtler

A chapter in Employment and regional development policy: Market efficiency versus policy intervention, 2004, pp 36-49 from ARL – Akademie für Raumentwicklung in der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Abstract: Economic historians and geographers have recognised a 'dualism' in the economic development of the UK - a divide between the northern and southern parts of the country - dating back over several centuries. The 'regional problem' in the UK has become increasingly difficult to define and categorise in simple terms. As in other countries, processes of regional and local restructuring have created a complex map of socio-economic change. During the 1980s, a frequently used concept was that of the 'North South divide', contrasting the differences between two parts of the country divided by a line from the River Severn to the Wash. This chapter reviews regional disparities in the UK, a country illustrative in many aspects of regional dynamics in other parts of the EU. The chapter begins by reviewing the historical context and long-term trends in regional disparities, before examining current spatial patterns and contemporary policy debates on the regional problem.

Date: 2004
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