There’s a new urban think tank on the block. The Centre for Towns aims to research economic and social issues in the smaller communities that get less attention from politicians, journalists, and, well, CityMetric.
The Centre has a number of founders, including statistician Ian Warren, Professor Will Jennings of the University of Southampton, and Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP for Wigan. Lisa was kind enough to talk to me for the podcast (despite a slight, and ongoing, disagreement between us about the existence of Greater Manchester).
In her office in Portcullis House, across the road from the Palace of Westminster, she told me why she rejects the recent focus of policy on big metropolitan areas; what powers towns like Wigan need to get their economies booming again; and how the failure to grant them helped lead to Brexit. We also, briefly, discuss the vexed issue of exactly what a town is.