Regional and urban policy is concerned with the economic inequalities which exist between geographical areas. Regions have tended to grow at different rates, with some being left well behind the leaders. One of the major and most persistent regional problems has been differential rates of unemployment, with some areas displaying a chronic tendency towards unemployment rates above the national average. During the interwar years some UK regions suffered particularly high levels of unemployment and even during the long postwar boom in the 1950s and 1960s areas in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had persistently higher rates of unemployment than the national average. According to the principles of market economics, if left to operate freely the market should eradicate unemployment differentials between areas. Ultimately, all those who seek work should be able to find employment and there should be no involuntary unemployment. However, this work may be extremely poorly paid and unpleasant. Given factor mobility those who are dissatisfied with the employment prospects in their region can seek work elsewhere. At the same time if wages are low in a region this should have the effect of attracting new investment and new employment to that region.
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