Painting the towns blue: demography, economy and living standards

Document type
McCurdy, Charlie
Resolution Foundation
Date of publication
12 February 2020
Social Policy, Employment, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report provides an audit of the demography, economy and living standards of what we term the ‘Blue Wall’: the 50 seats that were gained by the Conservatives from Labour in the North East and West, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East and West Midlands, and Wales.

It explores whether simplistic characterisations of the Blue Wall have a basis in fact. Is it accurate to characterise the Blue Wall as being made up of old, economically ‘left behind’ towns, for example? Are young people moving away in droves, and are residents being forced to leave in order to find work? The answers tell us much about the role of place in 21st century Britain, and provide the nuance needed to draw the right lessons for policy.

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