Widening gap between London and the rest of the UK
London is said to “suck talent from the rest of the country” as almost a third of people aged 22-30 make the move towards the capital, often permanently, according to a recent report.
The 2014 City Outlook report by the thinktank Centre for Cities says that the economic recovery in the UK is widening the gap between London – which has 13% of UK’s population –and other cities that are left behind.
The capital accounted for 80% of national private sector jobs growth between 2010 and 2012 and even in the public sector, the report said there is a ratio of one job created in London, with two lost elsewhere.
While other cities, like Edinburgh, Liverpool and Birmingham, have also experienced positive growth, others such as Glasgow and Blackpool have been left behind, with job losses in private and public sectors.
One in three people aged 22-30 decide to leave their hometown to move to London and often choose to stay in the south-east even later in life.
Alexandra Jones, CEO of Centre for Cities, said, “To enable cities to respond to their particular strengths and weaknesses the government should build on City Deals and devolve more funding and powers to UK cities – London and others – so they can generate more of their own income and play to their different strengths. This will help ensure this is a sustainable, job-rich recovery across the country.”
Speaking at BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in December, business secretary Vince Cable said that London was becoming “a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country”. He added that regional airports should be developed instead of Heathrow and that more balance in the country was needed.
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