Project Director: Christina Beatty
Project Duration: 2020-2021
This study for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Industrial Communities Alliance looks at the impact of the coronavirus crisis on older industrial Britain. It brings together a wide range of official statistics to plug a key gap in the evidence base.
The first report ‘The Impact of the Coronavirus Crisis on Older Industrial Britain’ was released in January 2021. This reviews the economic and labour market situation in these areas just prior to the start of the pandemic. The impact of the coronavirus on public health, the economy and labour market in the initial stages of the pandemic are then examined for former coalfield areas, older industrial Britain and the local authorities within them.
The second report ‘Beyond the Pandemic: Older Industrial Britain and the Wake of the Crisis’ was released in December 2021. This takes the analysis further to consider the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the labour market in these areas by the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The evidence indicates older industrial Britain entered the pandemic lagging behind on a wide range of social and economic indicators, was then hit hard during the pandemic and is now emerging still lagging behind.
The impact of the pandemic has in no way diminished the case for the Levelling Up to which the UK government is committed and which has always been expected to give priority to the less prosperous places found so widely across older industrial Britain. The challenge now is to translate the aspiration to deliver Levelling Up into practical reality. The final part of the report sets out the policies that are needed, including new funding and new rules on financial support for businesses, a new emphasis on the manufacturing sector, investment in infrastructure, skills, R&D and the green economy, support for land and property development and devolution to local councils, combined authorities and city regions.