The UK cost of living crisis has thrown the government’s Levelling Up agenda into sharper relief. With inflation at its highest rate in three decades – and with the effects of the pandemic still keenly felt in many communities – disparities are only set to widen over the coming months and years. This Working Paper draws on policy literature, historical research, and contemporary data to explore how persistent patterns of inequality have developed in the United Kingdom – and to demonstrate why holistic models of change are needed. Though policy makers rarely reach back into the past, preferring to look to a brighter, greener future, history helps us to consider how patterns of systemic injustice persist and shapeshift over time. Only by acknowledging historic trends and seeking radical alternatives to existing economic models can we attempt to design an inclusive vision of prosperity.