Localis report: In Place of Work

By Joe Fyans | 06 November 2017

The labour market in the UK is a fixture in our national discourse. Even if we do not always use the term ‘labour market’, there is a constant demand for comment and studies on the availability and quality of employment and employees. As the country prepares for Brexit, whatever form it may take, the issue becomes ever more pertinent. In our new report, In Place of Work, we make the case for considering the national labour market as an amalgamation of many local labour markets, each with its own demands.

For policy-makers, the challenge is acute: what kind of labour market policies can simultaneously meet the divergent needs of different places? Our view is that issues of industrial strategy are best iterated at the level of strategic authority – that is, the city region or non-metropolitan county. From the transport and storage heartland in the Midlands to the food manufacturing base in Cornwall, breaking the country down to this level reveals significant differences in the composition of local labour markets. When considering a policy programme to influence these labour markets, it is clear that one size simply cannot fit all. In our report, we put forward a suite of policy recommendations that would give England’s 47 strategic authorities (see box below) the formal recognition and powers needed to influence their local labour market. As the third decade of the twenty-first century approaches, the urgency of the situation cannot be overstated.

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