The London Problem

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The United Kingdom has never had an easy relationship with its capital. Far and away the wealthiest and most populous city in the country, London is the political, financial and cultural centre of the UK and it is responsible for almost a quarter of its economic output. Yet the city’s insatiable growth and perceived political dominance have caused national leaders grave concern for hundreds of years. This ‘London as problem’ perception has only increased as the city has become busier, dirtier and ever more powerful. The recent resurgence in anti-London sentiment and plans to rebalance power away from the capital should not be a surprise in a nation still feeling the effects of austerity. But will it be different this time? Will HS2 or the plan to move the House of Lords to northern England really redistribute power and wealth? Published on the eve of the delayed mayoral elections and in the wake of the greatest financial downturn in generations, London and the UK asks whether the capital’s relentless growth and stranglehold on commerce and culture will ever leave room for other regions to compete.