London Brain Drain? Bring It On

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 60 months ago
London Brain Drain? Bring It On


"London acts as a continual drain on the rest of the country both for industry and population, and much evidence points to the fact that it is already too large."

A new report from Centre for Cities was released today, looking at the outlook for cities in the UK. It's already generated a lot of comment about how the economic gap between London and the rest of the country is widening, and the 'brain drain' as people move to the capital. But the quote above, though taken from the report, actually comes from 1940! We've all been having this conversation for a very long time.

Some of the figures from the report are interesting, and we bet there are more than a few Londonist readers (god knows, there are more than a few Londonist writers) who can identify with the following:

  • One in three of the 20-somethings who relocate in the UK move to London.
  • 22-30 year olds are leaving other large cities for London. Of all the 20-somethings who relocate from places like Manchester and Leeds, 58% come here.
  • Although more internal migrants left London between 2009-2012 than moved in, those people tend to stick around the south-east. One possibility: people move to the bright lights as starry-eyed youngsters, then move out when they've got families – but close enough to keep their jobs.

Centre for Cities suggests this is less London's problem and more something that the rest of the UK needs to pull its act together on. Calls to limit economic activity in the capital are, says the report, a bit silly (we paraphrase). For a start, we have nearly double the average number of business start-ups of the rest of the country; businesses headquartered in London employ people right across the UK; and we're creating by far the most jobs in both private and public sectors.

London: basically awesome. Photo by markdbaynham from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 27 January 2014