From Hart to Hartlepool: A new Atlas of Inequality

By Alasdair Rae | 12 February 2020

In the aftermath of the 2019 General Election, the issue of economic inequality remains firmly on the political agenda. Yet, beyond the broad idea that we ought to do something about it, the causes and consequences of inequality remain disputed. In fact, the only area of consensus on inequality in the UK may be that it took a great leap forward in the 1980s and has remained relatively high ever since. Or, as Torsten Bell of the Resolution Foundation put it: ‘British inequality is like bad music: it’s all about the 1980s.’

I know this much is true, yet there has also been a growing, cross-party view that local and regional inequalities are unsustainable and that they hurt the productivity of the country as a whole. It was in this context that my colleague Elvis Nyanzu and I at the University of Sheffield set out to create a new English Atlas of Inequality with a view to answering the following questions:

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