Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Beyond The Metropolis: Who Speaks For Britain's Towns In Post-Brexit World?


  • Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan
  • Owen Jones, the Guardian
  • Ed Boyd, Managing Director, CSJ
  • Miatta Fahnbulleh, Director of Research, IPPR (chair)
  • Harry Quilter-Pinner, Researcher, IPPR

Read Lisa Nandy MP's speech from this event.

A gulf has opened up between the lives many expected to lead, and the reality of life as it is now experienced. This was the reality laid bare by the Brexit vote in June 2016.

This is particularly true in Britain's rural, coastal and satellite towns. Emerging evidence shows that while, by and large, our cities are prospering, the same cannot be said for the rest of the country.

In these places, low levels of social mobility are increasingly infringing upon Britain’s implicit social contract: that those who work hard will have a fair chance to get on.

This event launched a new programme of work by IPPR on this topic, and initiated a public discussion on what can be done to address this challenging issue.

It included a keynote speech from Lisa Nandy (see above), Member of Parliament for Wigan, who discussed her own project aimed at helping progressives reconnect with people in Britain's towns.


4.30–4.35pm – Welcome - Miatta Fahnbulleh, Director of Research (IPPR)

4.35–4.45pm – Context: Social Mobility and Place – Harry Quilter-Pinner, Research Fellow (IPPR)

4.45–5.00pm – Key Note Speech: Who Speaks for Britain's Towns? – Lisa Nandy MP

5.00–5.10pm – Response – Owen Jones (the Guardian)

5.10–5.20pm – Response – Ed Boyd, Managing Director (CSJ)

5.20–5.45pm – Panel Discussion – chaired by Miatta Fahnbulleh, Director of Research (IPPR)

5.45–6.30pm – Questions From Audience – chaired by Miatta Fahnbulleh, Director of Research (IPPR)

Listen to the podcast: