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The UK is a profoundly spatially unequal place. Whether it is in the domains of health, education, or employment, where a person is born impacts the outcomes throughout their lives.

This urgent problem was acknowledged in the UK government’s Levelling Up White Paper. However, by the summer 2022 other challenges, such as the crises in Ukraine, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and the soaring cost of living, were threatening to obscure the need to tackle spatial inequalities.

Therefore, in September 2022, the Government Outcomes Lab, University of Oxford, convened the Tackling Spatial Inequalities Roundtable among senior cross-sector representatives and experts. The conversation was intended to reinvigorate the agenda to address spatial inequalities for better social outcomes, producing high-level observations of the next steps.

Leading academics and thinkers in the subject opened the conversation and it led to a lively and insightful discussion. Throughout the session, there was a strong awareness that experimentation and learning is essential. Uncertainties are a constant in policy decision-making and it is tempting to think we know more than we do. We must find a way forward by learning quickly, both from successes and failures across place and time.

To read the summary of the conversation use the download button above. If you would like to discuss the topics in this communiqué, please get in touch with the Government Outcomes Lab. As the convener of the roundtable, we are keen to maintain this important conversation.