Plugging that gap

20 February 2019

These are polarised times for the United Kingdom. Amidst political and social instability, London’s economy is racing ahead of the rest of the country. The capital - the political, financial and cultural centre of its highly-centralised nation – is increasingly perceived to be becoming a place apart, a remote and uninterested in life outside the M25. But what can role can local leaders play in plugging that gap? 

Over the past 8 months, I’ve been interviewing local government figures, MPs, business and cultural leaders across the country, to find out how London is perceived today, and what could be done to strengthen ties between capital and country. These conversations revealed that whilst London’s economic contribution is widely appreciated, it is often felt to be having little impact locally. The UK government is seen as ‘London-centric’ in its outlook, due to its location in Westminster and Whitehall, and there is a feeling that the increasingly different experiences of places across the UK are not necessarily understood or represented by those at the centre. And at the same time, the capital itself does not seem to be reaching out to, or particularly interested in, the rest of its nation state. 

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