Over three quarters of British people who live outside London think the city contributes a lot or “a fair amount” to the UK economy as a whole, but similar percentages doubt it has helped their own locality or that living or working in the capital is “a realistic option for people like me”.
The findings of a new poll from YouGov, conducted for think tank Centre For London and the Mile End Institute, also indicate that twice as many non-Londoners feel proud of the capital (56 per cent) as feel the opposite (28 per cent) and that 40 per cent did not believe that moving any national institutions out of London make help make the UK a fairer place.
Philip Cowley, professor of politics at Queen Mayor University London and director of the Mile End Institute, said the figures show that “most people think London delivers for the UK’s economy, they just don’t think it delivers for them” while Jack Brown, senior researcher at Centre for London, said that “too many people feel excluded from the city” and that “radical ideas” are needed for “rebuilding relations with the rest of the country”.
The poll also found that many non-Londoners think of London as expensive (47 per cent) and crowded (43 per cent), with 20 per cent thinking it “chaotic”, 15 per cent “dirty” and only 8 per cent “elitist” and 5 per cent “rich”. Non-Londoners’ pride in the capital varied across different parts of Britain, falling to 44 per cent in Wales and 39 per cent in Scotland. In London itself, the figure was 80 per cent.
Given a list of terms to describe Londoners (as opposed to London), “diverse” was chosen most often (41 per cent), followed by “arrogant” (29 per cent) and “insular” (18 per cent). The figure for “rich” was 12 per cent, for “poor” 4 per cent and for “liberal” 9 per cent. Given a list of institutions which, if moved out of London would do most to “make the UK a fairer place”, government departments, such as the Treasury, was the top choice (19 per cent), followed by parliament (14 per cent) and the civil service and financial services and the City (both 13 per cent).
See the full You Gov tables here. Centre for London is working on new thinking about how London can better connect with the rest of the country. Philip Cowley and Jack Brown are contributors to On London.