EU Cohesion Policy after Brexit: the economic, social and institutional challenges

John Bachtler, Iain Begg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
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Since 1988, when the current EU Cohesion Policy was introduced, it has played an influential role in setting priorities for policies aimed at dealing with the effects of economic integration on regional and social disparities. Although, latterly, the amount of money spent in the UK through the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) has declined, EU programmes have had a disproportionate effect on the design and implementation of UK policies shaping regional and local economic and social development. At sub-national level, in particular, there will need to be a fresh approach following Brexit. This paper starts by recalling how EU Cohesion Policy has functioned in the UK, then considers how Brexit may affect regional and social developments and the need for a corresponding policy response, focusing on the sorts of policies currently supported by the ERDF and the ESF. The paper shows that filling the policy vacuum will be far from straightforward because complementary national policies and institutional frameworks have lacked consistency or coherence. It concludes by examining the wider policy issues arising from rethinking domestic policy outside the ESIF framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-763
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • EU Cohesion policy
  • european structural funds
  • European social fund
  • EU budget
  • fiscal federalism
  • Brexit


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