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The Covid-19 crisis and manufacturing: How should national and local industrial strategies respond?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emil Evenhuis, Professor Andy Pike



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2020.The ongoing Covid-19 crisis and recession represent one of the biggest shocks to the UK manufacturing ecosystem yet, and comes at a time when the ecosystem was already in a worrying situation after decades of deindustrialisation, a decade of austerity and an impending ‘Brexit’. The effects of this shock will also be unevenly felt due to the geography of the UK manufacturing ecosystem, amplifying the need for a successful response to ensure that places are not left (further) behind. This paper assesses the pre-Covid-19 ecosystem to ascertain the areas and industries likely to be particularly impacted by the crisis, and to understand existing issues. These issues are important to consider due to the implications for choosing strategies moving forward, for which two are appraised here. First, the reshoring of supply chains is considered in light of recent government comments, but difficulties in implementation may arise due to the highly fragmented nature of UK policy frameworks. Second, an acceleration of the ‘grand challenges’ approach is likely but limited by issues of connectivity in the ecosystem and small and medium-sized firm disengagement. We suggest that any strategy moving forward must strike a balance between such strategies

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harris JL, Sunley P, Evenhuis E, Martin R, Pike A, Harris R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Local Economy

Year: 2020

Volume: 35

Issue: 4

Pages: 403-415

Print publication date: 01/06/2020

Online publication date: 02/09/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 04/12/2020

ISSN (print): 0269-0942

ISSN (electronic): 1470-9325

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd


DOI: 10.1177/0269094220953528


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