This book looks at the future role of local economic development. Once New Labour came to power in 1997, they sought a third way between the new right agenda of Thatcherism with its attempts to reduce the role of the local state and foster a free market and the left’s attempts to take more control over the local economy in the interest of workers. In July 2007, Gordon Brown’s government published the 'Review of Sub-national Economic Development and Regeneration'.

This book argues that competitiveness and neo-liberalism, or increased market domination over an ever wider range of social relations, have in reality dominated New Labour’s policies. Yet a number of contradictions remain as New Labour continues to seek a reduction in poverty and regional and local disparities. The book analyses the changes that will result from further market domination under the Sub-national Review but also the opportunities that will arise for local economic development agents, particularly those with a concern for social justice. It looks specifically at regional and sub-regional strategy making; partnership, networking and building institutional capacity; local labour market policy and policy towards cities. An additional feature of the book is that several authors draw on international comparisons.

This book was published as a special issue of Local Economy.