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Great Britain's second-order city regions in recessions
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Emeritus Professor Tony Champion
Champion T, Townsend A
Environment and Planning A
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Although it is now accepted that the 2008–09 recession accentuated regional differences in Britain, it is more difficult to identify the role of major cities—especially over a longer time scale. With the aid of previously established methods focused on employment, this paper assesses the records of nine second-order city regions in the 2008–09 recession and contrasts them with the previous two recessions. The 2008–09 recession is found to have impacted these city regions less than the other two in absolute terms, but not in relative terms compared with the London city region or the rest of Britain. Over the whole period from 1978, the second-order city regions are found to be fairly tightly in the grip of national cyclical and structural trends, but all but two of them showed negative deviation from the growth rate predicted on this basis. In comparison, London showed appreciably more cyclical behaviour between 1989 and 2002 than at other times, with a particularly strong recovery from recession in this period. The public sector helped the performance of second-order city regions over the study period including 2007–10, but employment reductions in this sector will dominate their prospects for several years to come.
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