London – a dysfunctional economy

For three decades, with barely a blip, the UK capital has been going from strength to strength. Nothing has stunted its potency and growth, not the 7/7 bombings or the 2011 riots, not Black Monday or the 2008 global crash, not even the original Millennium Dome. Its economy drives and subsidises the rest of the country, its still-new tier of regional government – the mayoralty and the Greater London Authority (GLA) – has been a success and it has hosted a triumphant Olympic Games. Its population, after shrinking through years of managed decline, is now at an all-time high, and may hit 10 million by 2030. But London enters 2017 with a question mark after its name. Might its golden age be coming to an end?

This extract from the Guardian illustrates the blinkered attitude to the economy, society and environment of many of those who support unsustainable growth. The continued attraction of London as an economic growth centre itself creates problems not only because of the impact on the rest of the UK economy – in one sense its ‘success’ is an example of the imbalances created by oil in economies – but because it sucks in more people which has negative impacts on the environment and housing. It also acts as a magnet for investors – but not investors in the economy but investors in property pumping up property prices.

Odd and worrying that supporters of London must grow fail to see the connection between this growth and high house prices!

The continuation of a business as usual approach will mean that social inequality and housing problems will worsen.

London’s ‘golden’ age is a mirage, a belief as flawed as that held by alchemists that base metal can be turned into gold!


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