Academy of Ideas

Can we revive Britain’s ‘Rust Belt’?

April 26, 2019

Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas Festival 2018.

In Brexit Britain, much focus has fallen on the divides that cut across generational, educational and class lines. But increasingly there is a new geographical divide that is taking shape – one where voguish metropolitan regions, prosperous urban centres and university towns contrast starkly with vast swathes of territory now labelled ‘left-behind Britain’. Is it still possible to rejuvenate former ports, market towns, coastal resorts and county towns? Should the focus be economic investment or a social and cultural transformation? Do we need a new urban paradigm, or should we create incentives to save, rebuild and inject new life into these urban areas?

DR RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS
journalist and writer; award-winning author

CAROLINE FLINT MP
member of parliament, Don Valley; co-chair, Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group

DAVID GOODHART
head of demography, Policy Exchange; author, The Road to Somewhere

MO LOVATT
writer and researcher specialising in arts and culture policy; co-chair, The Great Debate

CHAIR: ALASTAIR DONALD
associate director, Academy of Ideas; codirector, Future Cities Project