December 2018 Meeting: Professor Philip McCann

UK interregional inequalities, governance and the implications of Brexit

In his talk Professor McCann will first examine the evidence for, the nature of, and the effects of, the UK’s interregional productivity inequalities. He will argue that the regional productivity problem is a national productivity problem – and that much of the UK national productivity weakness is in fact a question of regions. Secondly, he will argue that our current UK governance system is almost uniquely ill-equipped to address these challenges, and that the current devolution agenda not only needs to go much further, but also in many ways needs to be done quite differently. Thirdly, Professor McCann will argue that these are the issues that underpin much of the Brexit vote, and the major implication of Brexit will be to make the UK interregional inequalities even worse than they already are.
In addition to holding a chair in Sheffield, Philip McCann is also the Tagliaferri Research Fellow in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. Philip has published in almost every area of economic geography, and regional and urban economics. He is one of the world’s most highly cited scholars in these fields and his research has won academic awards in several countries. Philip has also previously been a Special Adviser to two different EU Commissioners for Regional and Urban Policy, and has also advised four OECD directorates, the European Investment Bank, and  government bodies in various countries. Recently he was an independent advisor on the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review and before that on the IPPR Northern Futures Commission and the North East Independent Economic Review. Philip has been appointed a Commissioner on the UK2070 Commission, which is just starting its work. He is now Director of the ESRC Productivity Insights Network+ Research programme. Philip is also the author of the 570-page book The UK Regional National Economic Problem: Geography, Globalisation and Governance (2016 Routledge), which is the most detailed, comprehensive and authoritative study ever undertaken of the UK’s regional economic problems and governance challenges.

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