Policy Implications

Published date01 May 2019
Date01 May 2019
AuthorDavid Hearne,Alex de Ruyter
It is clear that these ndings have major policy implications
and work will need to be done to understand these further. This
chapter is a rst attempt to tease some of those fundamental
policy points out and to steer the emergent debate. Brexit (at
the time of writing) is an omnipresent issue in this context.1 We
have argued that real (price-adjusted) gures, as calculated in
the previous two chapters, are indispensable for policy makers
who wish to address the regional divides so powerfully evident
in the Brexit vote. Indeed, use of nominal gures can distort
funding ows: London’s high transport spending (covered later
in this chapter) might be understandable in light of its high
nominal productivity. If, however, we adjust for price differenc-
es (as economic theory and international comparisons suggest
we ought) then this disparity becomes much harder to justify.
As such, our results have signicant implications for the
geography of productivity and incomes and this will affect fund-
ing ows and other appropriate policies. Brexit presents some
opportunities to adjust some of these but also major industrial
challenges (Bailey & De Propris, 2017; Chen et al., 2018).
76 Regional Success After Brexit
As such, we also discuss the ‘geography of discontent’ link-
ing regional economic development and the Brexit vote (Los,
McCann, Springford, & Thissen, 2017). It is perhaps no
accident that the NUTS1 regions that voted most heavily to
leave the European Union (EU) are those where we nd price-
adjusted productivity to be lowest. In order to do this, the
chapter is structured as follows:
• Introduction and outline – This section introduces the
reader to some of the major policy implications of our
work, noting the existing policy environment.
• The current spending bias towards London and the South
East – Here we examine the extent to which London and
its environs dominate national infrastructure spending,
noting that our gures imply that rebalancing towards the
regions would benet the UK as a whole.
• The Brexit overhang – This section explicitly examines
the likely post-Brexit funding environment and considers
what an optimal funding mechanism might look like.
• The case for ‘meaningful devolution’ – In this section,
we examine the role of devolution in regional economic
performance, making the case for greater devolution of
• Moving beyond ‘people versus place’ – Here we outline
how the academic debate needs to move on in light of our
revised gures.
• Conclusion.
We commenced this book by noting the nature of regional
disparities and how they are conventionally treated by

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