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"The authors concluded that coastal cities like Liverpool and Sunderland had "lost much of their raison d'etre" with the decline of shipping and had "little prospect of offering their residents the standard of living to which they aspire".
It was time to be "realistic about the ability of cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to regenerate struggling nearby towns.
"No-one is suggesting that residents should be forced to move, but we do argue that they should be told the reality of the position: regeneration, in the sense of convergence, will not happen, because it is not possible," it concluded.
The authors included Tim Leunig, a lecturer in economic History
at the London School of Economics, who said: "No doubt some people will claim that these proposals are unworkable, unreasonable and perhaps plain barmy.
"But the issue is clear: current regeneration policies are failing the very people they are supposed to be helping and there is no evidence that the trend will be reversed without radical changes."
He said internal migration had always been an important part of a dynamic economy and people had to be allowed to move to places offering more opportunities. "