Place-based policymaking after Brexit: In search of the missing link?

January 23, 2018  |  By Will Jennings, University of Southampton; Adam Lent, New Local Government Network and Gerry Stoker, University of Canberra and University of Southampton

This report explores the dividing lines that drove 2016’s decision to Leave. This report reveals the Brexit vote was a visible expression of the diverse economic trajectories, experiences and identities in England.

This report, carried out by the University of Southampton and NLGN, confirms deep cleavages in public opinion and feelings of identity across England. Reflecting varying levels of economic development and connection to the global knowledge economy, it reveals political outlook varies greatly by place, particularly regarding immigration and attitudes to the past. Analysis of survey data confirms that residents of coastal-provincial and post-industrial towns tend to hold more closed and nostalgic views – in comparison with cosmopolitan areas, these residents tend to more concerned about immigration and believe life was better in the past.

This piece concludes that sensitive political and policy responses are needed to meet the policy demands of post-Brexit Britain; the ‘one-size-fit-all’ philosophy that dominates political circles today should be revised. Without bespoke and locally made-policy responses, the ‘Three Englands’ divide will only continue to reconfigure national policy.