A massive number of young adults move to London from other UK cities and never return home, a report from the Centre for Cities found. The study pointed to an increasingly widening economic gap between London and the rest of the UK as the most promising and talented individuals abandon their home towns. London appears to "suck talent from the rest of the country with many young people never returning to their home towns.
One in three 22- to 30-year-olds now head to the capital after graduating from university, a fact that signals a brain drain on the provinces. This in turn adds to concerns that the UK’s economy is dangerously skewed towards London and the South East.
80,000 people in that age group moved to the city between 2009 and 2013, compared with 31,600 who left London – a net inflow to the capital of 48,400.The research found that people begin to move out again when they reach their thirties, but only to surrounding counties such as Essex, Kent and Sussex.
While these people may no longer live in London, they are likely to remain part of the capital’s labour market as they are located within commuting distance from London.
Why London Pioneers…
London has created 10 times more private sector jobs than any other city since 2010. Between 2010 and 2012 more than 215,000 private jobs were created in London alone. Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester were the next best performing cities in terms of private sector job creation.
According to the Cities Outlook 2014 report; London makes a large and growing contribution to the UK economy. It now accounts for around 19% of jobs, 21% of businesses and 25% of economic output. The UK’s tentative economic recovery has been one very much led by the capital, however for every public-sector post created in London; two were lost in other cities.
At the other end of the scale, Bristol is still recovering from heavy redundancies in financial services, while Glasgow, Bradford, Sheffield and Blackpool have suffered job losses in public and private sectors.
More Power and Funding Must be Devolved to Other Cities
Obviously, London’s long standing economic strength is a significant asset but it is critical that other UK cities make the most of their economic potential so that there is a more equal proportion of job growth across the country.
Cities Minister Greg Clark said: “For Britain to prosper, our cities must prosper. They are the engines of growth for the national economy in a world where cities are increasingly competing against others around the world”.
Alexandra Jones, the chief executive of Centre for Cities noted that “Devolving more funding and power to UK cities so they can generate more of their own income and respond to the different strengths and weaknesses that Cities Outlook 2014 highlights will be critical to ensuring this is a sustainable, job-rich recovery”.
The data indicates that London sucks in talent from the rest of the UK, as it offers young people amenities and opportunities for career progression that only a big city can provide. To sort out the ‘inequality’ issue, authorities should make sure that the economic activity, resources and policy powers are equally spread across the country and not given merely in favour of London.