Movers and stayers

Think tank: Demos

Author(s): Courtney Stephenson

July 20, 2022

This report from UK think tank Demos looks at localising power to level up towns.

In an ongoing period of political change, it is imperative that addressing regional inequalities stays firmly on the political agenda. The challenge of supporting people to thrive within the towns they come from is not going away. There is an opportunity for the government to ensure levelling up remains at the heart of its ambitions and to prioritise the needs and interests of people in towns. The levelling up agenda has included an ambition to help people to ‘stay local, go far’. In this report we investigate the desirability and feasibility of this ambition. To do so we spoke to people that have left towns and those that have decided to stay. These groups are crucial to making ‘stay local, go far’ a reality, but have so far been missing from the conversation. Our research shows that if ‘stay local, go far’ primarily seeks to stop people leaving towns, we believe it will, for a multitude of reasons, fail. Movers and Stayers instead calls on the government to re-conceptualise ‘stay local, go far’ to focus on helping those that stay. Helping stayers means empowering communities, local government and businesses to take control of their town.