A key feature of the government’s response to Covid-19 has been its uniform, place-blind character. The lockdown was applied like a blanket across the whole country, along with standard relief schemes for households and businesses.

Nationwide measures may have seemed most straightforward and fair. But new evidence reveals that the spatial impact has been very uneven. Treating places that are already unequal in a uniform way doesn’t narrow the gap between them. In fact, it can amplify geographic divisions...

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