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London: what is it good for?

Liverpool tops league of sceptics when it comes to view of the capital

Published on May 13th 2014.

London: what is it good for?

FEWER than one in 10 people in Liverpool believe London has a positive impact on the city’s economy or that Whitehall and Parliament care less about the issues faced on Merseyside.

That is one of the startling conclusions today in report by the think-tank Centre for Cities. 
The report finds Liverpudlians are among the most disaffected in the UK  - along with people in Hull, Sheffield and Glasgow - when it comes to their view of  how the capital views the provinces.
Those single-digit results compare with the 24 per cent nationally who believe London has a positive effect on their local economies.

A YouGov poll, commissioned by the Centre for Cities think tank, surveyed people across 16 major UK cities to ask how they feel the capital affects their lives.
The joint project, with Centre for London, and supported by Lloyds Banking Group, found the further you go north the more negative the opinion becomes about the relationship with London.

Centre For Cities called on the Government to devolve more powers and freedoms to cities so that they can take on more prominent economic, political and cultural roles.

The joint project with Centre for London, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, found that contrary to David Cameron's assertion that “we are all in this together” the British public does not feel that the UK is a “one nation economy”. 

And the further north you go the more scepticism there is. 

Across the UK, only 17 percent of people believe London civil servants and politicians are responsive to issues in their own city. But in this regard Liverpudlians are the least convinced of all (eight percent).


However, bucking that northern trend is Manchester. Just 35 miles up the road, the view is a world apart. There more than a fifth of those polled (21 percent) say that Whitehall and Parliament are responsive to the issues in the city, while 18 percent felt London benefited its economy. 

"This could reflect the fact that Manchester has a long history of strong leadership and relationships with Whitehall and as a result has more powers, funding and flexibilities to grow and shape the city,” the report's authors say. 

“Manchester’s recent City Deal and the continuous growth of its tram network, for example, demonstrate how city leaders have worked alongside government in London to drive change and support the economy in Manchester.” 


It also pointed to the strong city region partnership Manchester has in working between 10 local authorities) as contributing to additional investment and growth. 

In other areas, 63 per cent of people in Liverpool thought London would be a poor place to bring up a family. But only three per cent thought schools here are much better than London.

As to leadership, only 11 per cent of respondentsin Liverpool thought having a mayor was "very beneficial" to the city's fortunes. 

And despite the BBC's move to Salford, national coverage of news stories and cultural events tends to be regarded as London-centric. Ironically even the report describes it as ‘Salford in Manchester’. 
The report counter’s David Cameron's assertion “we are all in this together” with the vast majority of Brits not sharing the Prime Minister’s view of the UK as a “one nation economy”.


As you would expect, cities closer to have a much more positive view of their relationships with London. Once that invisible border, known as north of Watford Gap, is navigated, things change, and in Liverpool the change is staggering.
The report provides further confirmation that London and the expanding South East is like a runaway train – leaving the big northern cities behind.

Centre for Cities have called for a domestic version of the government agency UKTI to foster better trade links across the country, including more trade from other cities, such as Liverpool, into London and vice-versa.    UKTI facilitates closer business ties between the UK and overseas markets.
There is also a call for business and city leaders in provincial cities to work within their own regional networks.

“There is often too little knowledge, communication or strategy between nearby cities. Some of the cities seem more clued in to what is going on in London that what is going on with their neighbour,” says the report.
Despite the growing north-south divide, London still beckons, with more young people setting their sights on careers in the capital.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Lord StreetMay 14th 2014.

This is hardly surprising. After the Conservative government’s abandonment of northern cities in general and Liverpool in particular in the 1980s we can easily see that more is done for our benefit by the European Parliament in Brussels than by ‘our own’ Parliament in Westminster. The British Government’s priority seems to be to turn London into a billionaires’ playground while the rest of the country is left to rot.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Lord StreetMay 14th 2014.

See also the abolition of the Metropolitan Counties by Thatcher in 1986, not because they did a bad job, but simply because they elected Labour rather than Conservative administrations. This strangled the northern cities’ ability to plan and govern strategically and in the long term. Without these larger areas coming under unified control there is little point in having an elected mayor except to satisfy the whimsical desire of the Conservative government and help them muddy the water to help them divide and rule - as usual. The Conservatives do not have brains, logic or common sense to back up their shortsighted policies. They thrive only in an atmosphere of fear, ignorance and confusion so they always calculate to create one.

Lord StreetMay 14th 2014.

I meant Metropolitan County Councils of course.

John BradleyMay 14th 2014.

It was actually the Tories who created the Met Counties but what they created was a cut down versions of what had been proposed. Merseyside in particular was badly hit. The LCR is still to small and with too little power. It is amazing though that while one look in Liverpool tells you the EU cares more than HMG, you still find people bitching about EU and prepared to vote UKIP. You will not get a lot of support for expanded city regions in places like West Lancs, which don't want to be associated with Liverpool and it is those areas which contain marginal constituencies, that the parties in London are most concerned about. Labour wouldn't have the balls to implement Redcliffe Maude type of reforms and if Scotland votes Yes will not get the chance. You just have too look at the ago Joe gets to see that a lot of the locals don't want any change and regard all change as bad, and will adopt a conspiracy theorist hysterical point of view to any proposed changes. The City is not capable of producing the number of councillors to fill the seats. Liverpool needs to cut the number radically to say 12 and make them full time. The City might be able to do that without Westminster getting in the way, but it would be one hell of a fight with the people who's egos a supported by being councillors. But no one can do anything in Liverpool without cries from the public that they are doing it only for their own benefit. The total lack altruism in large parts of the population makes it impossible for them to believe it is exists in others. The idea that some people may just get a kick out of doing a good job isn't credible to some.

John BradleyMay 14th 2014.

You seem to have given an idea to the Echo twitter.com/…/466531796709281792…

AnonymousMay 14th 2014.

Well I bought a very nice small rucksack, much cheaper than the ones I was looking at in Liverpool. But I suppose when you add the train fare, it wasn't that good a deal. And that's the problem.

Phillip LawlerMay 14th 2014.

Like or loathe who is in charge of the country you have to work with them to get the best for the city. I don't think Joe Anderson's recent comments against David Cameron did much good apart from perpetuate the myth to people outside the city that we are whingers and live in the past. Those in charge in should want the best for all areas of the UK. A happy and prosperous ecconomy puts more money into the treasury. Thatcher is long gone and whilst there may be arguments about the effects she had on the area they belong in the past. A new positive attitude is needed to push the city forward. Look forward and not back.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 14th 2014.

That's rather glib.

AnonymousMay 16th 2014.

There are nearly a hundred billionaires in London and provincial cities can't even afford to keep the libraries open. That IS the future. Mr. Lawler.

Eric BellsMay 14th 2014.

Might be better if people in Liverpool stopped thinking of themselves as a nation apart from the rest of Britain.

1 Response: Reply To This...
John BradleyMay 14th 2014.

The residents of most cities think of themselves that way. Views like your are usually expressed by the surrounding towns who live in the shadow of these cities culturally and economically. They seek to attach themselves to something even bigger like a country to console themselves. So tell me Eric which shadowed land do you live in?

Lord StreetMay 15th 2014.

As a Liverpudlian I think of myself as a European with all the advantages and opportunities that affords. I leave all that ignorant Little Englander nonsense to the curtain-twitching, insecure imbeciles of the BNP, UKIP, the Conservatives etc. I do not see myself as ‘apart’ and everyone is very welcome to join me.

Mad MitchMay 16th 2014.

getting rid of all the fake scousers too

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