Poorer places are exiting COVID with the same problems they started with

Many less affluent places fared better through the pandemic than more prosperous places, but while this is welcome we should not be complacent about their situation, says Andrew Carter.

More than 2,400 stores have closed and many of our biggest and most prosperous places have borne the brunt. Central Oxford – one of the country's economic powerhouses – has seen the biggest increase in vacant storefronts since the first lockdown and other big cities such as Newcastle, Cardiff and Birmingham have also been hard hit. This is because during the pandemic cities became victims of their own pre-pandemic success, with their office workers and weekend visitors staying away.  

Many less affluent places fared better. In Barnsley, Burnley and Doncaster the number of vacant stores has hardly moved and in Bradford and Blackpool they actually decreased. However, as welcome as this is we should not be complacent about their situation. They are exiting the pandemic with exactly the same problems they started with – small private sectors, too few skilled workers and too many low paid jobs.

Andrew Carter

Popular articles by Andrew Carter


Get unlimited access to The MJ with a subscription, plus a weekly copy of The MJ magazine sent directly to you door and inbox.


Full website content includes additional, exclusive commentary and analysis on the issues affecting local government.


Already a subscriber?