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London is still the UK’s golden goose – and that needs to change

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London could be justified in feeling a little unappreciated right now. Britons outside the capital think of its residents as “arrogant” and “insular”, an investigation by the Centre for London has found; London itself is seen as expensive and crowded. Pride in the capital decreases with distance from it, and appears to be declining over time. And while over three-quarters of Brits agree that London contributes to the national economy, just 16% feel it contributes to the economy where they live.

There is a long-held and persistent sense that London is too dominant in national life. Some also perceive its success as coming at the expense of the rest of the country – an idea that has re-emerged periodically throughout history, most famously in the 1820s when parliamentarian William Cobbett described the capital as a “Great Wen”, a gigantic cyst draining the life out of the rest of the nation.

Today, the capital’s appetite for investment in its infrastructure is seen as insatiable, serving only to strengthen the city’s magnetism, dragging talented young people out of the regions and into its grasp.

This idea seems to be on the rise, and the Guardian has just published a series entitled London Versus. But does this perception reflect reality?

The first thing to note is that the capital’s economy is seriously strong. With just 13% of the national population, London is responsible for 23% of the UK economy.

London’s 9........

© The Guardian