Inequalities act as a drag on economic growth and generate instability. Constrained life chances and wellbeing fuel feelings of injustice, insecurity, and discontent at the lack of opportunities, stoking populist backlash at the ballot box. Persistent economic challenges in some deindustrialised places span generations. A polycrisis of disruptive change, uncertainty, and volatility has been ongoing since the 2008 crash, with the COVID-19 pandemic and acute climate crisis making the situation much harder to address. Persistent inequalities not only affect the resilience of communities to weather emergent economic shocks, but also influence the ability of anchor institutions to respond as they face competing demands and cuts to funding. But despite these challenges, there is a moral, economic, and political imperative to address growing social and spatial inequalities to shape more inclusive outcomes.
- How do we develop and build support for intentional local strategies for change?
- How do we provide purposive and thoughtful local approaches to address inequality?
- How do we show that ‘but for us,’ these issues would be absent from local public policy?
- In what ways can progress be made in changing the national political economy to deal with structural issues that may not find resolution in place?