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'Left behind' north of the border? Economic disadvantage and intersectional inequalities in post-pandemic Scotland.

Morrison, James


James Morrison


UK media and political discourse has increasingly been dominated by concerns about the economic disadvantages experienced by post-industrial communities collectively labelled 'left behind' – and the deepening cultural fault-lines between them and wider society recent democratic events are said to have exposed. An overlapping narrative has re-cast many such communities as 'redwall'/'blue-wall' constituencies, following the 2016 Brexit referendum and Subsequent general elections – leading to a growing political focus on 'levelling up' infrastructural investment, employment and training opportunities to address economic inequalities between South-East England and much of the rest of the UK. To date, though, the primary political focus of these discourses has been on areas of northern and eastern England, the Midlands and Wales, with only a handful of contributions to the debate emphasizing the plight of comparably 'left-behind' areas of Scotland – notably an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report highlighting COVID-19's disproportionate economic impact on Scottish cities like Glasgow and Dundee with significant pockets of poverty (Davenport & Zaranko, 2020). This article draws on interviews with people from a range of disadvantaged groups in Scotland to explore how communities that have often been left out of the 'national conversation' about the 'left behind' are both experiencing economic inequality and starting to fight back – through incipient forms of grassroots 'DIY levelling up'.


MORRISON, J. 2022. 'Left behind' north of the border? Economic disadvantage and intersectional inequalities in post-pandemic Scotland. Scottish affairs [online], 31(4), pages 393-418. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 3, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 12, 2022
Publication Date Nov 30, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2022
Journal Scottish affairs
Print ISSN 0966-0356
Electronic ISSN 2053-888X
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 4
Pages 393-418
Keywords Disadvantage; Inequality; Intersectionality; Left behind
Public URL


MORRISON 2022 Left behind north of the border (AAM) (299 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© Edinburgh University Press. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Scottish Affairs. The Version of Record is available online at:

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