Working paper

You’re not speaking my language: policy discontinuity and coordination gaps between the UK’s national economic strategies and its place-based policies

Policy failure Place-based policy Policy analysis Policy implementation United Kingdom

Lack of consistency and coordination has long been noted as a failing of UK government policies, but it has previously been difficult to assess the extent of the policy discontinuity. In this paper, the authors present evidence from text analysis of a startling lack of coordination in government policy with a special focus on the Levelling Up White Paper, the Conservative government’s flagship policy statement to address spatial inequalities, and its other recent national economic policy documents. The authors confirm this linguistic discontinuity by analysing the context of statements about innovation policies from the Plan for Growth and Innovation Strategy with those in the Levelling Up White Paper. ‘Joined-up government’ is as far away as ever in the UK, in the context of the systemic challenges of spatial economic inequality.

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