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Why the North, why now and what is new? This chapter establishes the scholarly and real-world contexts within which the pursuit of economic development in the North should be studied. It discusses the Northern Powerhouse agenda, recent changes related to Brexit, the persistence of geographical inequalities between England’s regions, the historical context of devolution, the experience of deindustrialisation and the broader patterns of global capitalist restructuring within which Northern economic development is situated. The chapter also summarises the book’s contents and discusses how the North can be defined—and indeed what attempts to define the North tell us about the politics of economic development.
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