INTRODUCTION The past decade and a half has been challenging for regional development in the United Kingdom. The old verities concerning the pattern, causes and cures of the 'regional problem' have been called into question. Throughout the long post-war 'boom' or 'golden age' from 1945 to the early 1970s, there was a broad consensus, academically and politically, surrounding both the nature of 'the regional problem' and the appropriate policy responses directed at its resolution. During this period it was even possible to regard the difficulties of the structurally disadvantaged 'depressed areas' inherited from the inter-war years as marginal in an otherwise buoyant economy. For although the rate of unemployment in the industrial north and periphery of the nation averaged twice that of the south, midlands and east, joblessness everywhere was at an unprecedentedly low level. Since the mid-1970s, however, and especially since 1979, the whole question of uneven regional development has resurfaced with a vengeance.