Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini’s book on Northern economic development

SPERI is delighted to report that Developing England’s North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse, edited by our deputy director Craig Berry and honorary research fellow (and senior lecturer at De Montfort University) Arianna Giovannini, has been published by Palgrave.

This collection explores the politics of local economic development in Northern England. It starts from the premise that socio-economic conditions in the North – and its future prospects – have become central to national debates in the UK. The status of Northern regions and their local economies is intimately associated with efforts to ‘rebalance’ the economy away from the South East, London and the finance sector in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The contributors to this volume (which arises from a 2015 workshop funded by the White Rose Consortium) focus in particular on the coalition and Conservative governments’ ‘Northern Powerhouse’ agenda. They also analyse associated efforts to devolve power to local authorities across England, which promise to bring both greater prosperity and autonomy to the deindustrialized North. Several chapters critically interrogate these initiatives, and their ambitions, by placing them within their wider historical, geographical, institutional and ideological contexts. As such, the book seek to locate Northern England within a broader understanding of the political dimension of economic development, and outline a series of ideas for enhancing the North’s prospects.

Contributors to the book include Ron Martin and Ben Gardiner (University of Cambridge), James Wilsdon (University of Sheffield), Kieron Flanagan (University of Manchester), Simon Lee (University of Hull), Georgina Blakeley (Open University) and Brendan Evans (University of Huddersfield), Martin Jones and David Beel (University of Staffordshire), and Nick Gray (Northumbria University) and Lee Pugalis (University of Technology, Sydney). The full table of contents is below.

Craig’s contribution to the book focuses on industrial policy and deindustrialisation across the North, and Arianna’s contribution focuses on the uneven geography of city deals in Yorkshire. They also jointly author a concluding chapter which outlines both a forward research agenda, and a set of policy imperatives.

‘The Northern Powerhouse has been surrounded by hype and rhetoric.  Here is the absolutely vital corrective: a collection of chapters exploring the historical, territorial and structural reality of the political economy of the North.  Packed with evidence, assembled with exemplary scholarship.’

Professor Michael Moran, Alliance Business School, University of Manchester

‘At last, a serious academic contribution to the Northern Powerhouse debate that takes on the agglomeraniacs and Treasury tinkerers both empirically and philosophically. Despite offering a withering critique of progress to date, this book is far from pessimistic and instead represents a clarion call for a progressive, pan-Northern politics putting the North of England once again at the vanguard of economic and democratic reinvention.’

Ed Cox, Director, IPPR North

‘This book offers new insights into the political economy of the North of England. The topics covered are wide-ranging – from science policy to economic development – but the common theme is the policy agendas needed to address the North-South divide (and why existing approaches have failed). Berry and Giovannini’s important book is required reading for academics and policy-makers interested in this agenda.’

Dr Neil Lee, Department of Geography, London School of Economics

‘This outstanding collection shines a much needed light on the political economy of Northern England.  The contributors delve into economic policy making, city-regional governance and the inequalities entailed by the current UK approach to regionalism and devolution. It performs an exacting multi-dimensional critique, from which academics, policy makers and activists will learn many valuable lessons’.

Professor Jonathan Davies, Director, Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, De Montford University

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Full table of contents:

1) Introduction: powerhouse politics and economic development in the North (Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini)

Part 1: Economic policy and the political economy of Northern development

2) Reviving the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and spatially rebalancing the British economy: the scale of the challenge (Ron Martin and Ben Gardiner)

3) Law, legislation and rent-seeking: the role of the Treasury-led developmental state in the competitive advantage of the Southern Powerhouse (Simon Lee)

4) ‘D is for Dangerous’: devolution and the ongoing decline of manufacturing in Northern England (Craig Berry)

5) Powerhouse of innovation? Prospects and pitfalls of a regional turn in UK science, technology and innovation policy (Kieron Flanagan and James Wilsdon)

Part 2: Place, city-regional governance and local politics

6) The Northern Powerhouse meets the Cities and Local Growth agenda: local economic policy-making and agglomeration in practice (Nick Gray, Lee Pugalis and Danny Dickinson)

7) The uneven governance of devolution deals in Yorkshire: opportunities, challenges and local (di)visions (Arianna Giovannini)

8) Leading the way? The relationship between ‘Devo-Manc’, Combined Authorities and the Northern Powerhouse (Brendan Evans and Georgina Blakeley)

9) From problems in the North to the problematic North: Northern devolution through the lens of history (Daryl Martin, Alex Schafran and Zac Taylor)

Part 3: Inequality and austerity in the Northern Powerhouse agenda

10) Regionalisation and civil society in times of austerity: the cases of Manchester and Sheffield (Martin Jones, David Beel and Ian Rees Jones)

11) Civic financialisation: financing the Northern Powerhouse (Kevin Muldoon-Smith and Paul Greenhalgh)

12) The recomposition of the tax system: exacerbating uneven development through the Northern Powerhouse agenda (Daniel Bailey)


 13) Conclusion: a better place (Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini)