London and the UK

Centre for London is developing new thinking on how London can connect with the rest of the country.

London: a help or hindrance to the UK?

London has long played an outsized role in the economic, political and cultural life of the UK. But over the last few decades London’s dominance of the UK’s economy has become particularly pronounced. Critics complain that its magnetic power sucks talent and investment away from other UK cities, making it hard for them to thrive.

Of course the Mayor, the City of London Corporation and London business groups have often made the case for London’s contribution to the UK as a whole. But argument isn’t resonating with those outside the city. Only 24 per cent of Britons outside the capital think it has a positive effect on their local economy – the figures falls to less than 10 per cent in Liverpool, Hull and Sheffield.[1]

Research scope

This project will look at how London’s relations to the rest of the country have changed in recent years; how London has positioned itself in the past; how it is perceived; and what the capital could do to address national misgivings.

It will explore opportunities for closer working between London and other cities. We will look at how the Mayor and other London institutions – including its great cultural and educational institutions and its visitor attractions – can support, showcase and engage with the rest of the country.

The project will also explore deeper questions about what London should be doing to spread prosperity as widely as possible to other cities and regions. How can the capital support the strategies – The Northern Powerhouse, the Industrial Strategy, metro mayors – to help regional renaissance and rebalancing?


We do not conceive of this project involving a great deal of new ‘hard’ quantitative analysis or economic modelling.  There has already been lots of research on strategies for tackling regional disparities. The process will include background research on relations between capital cities and regions in other countries, interviews with experts and leaders, and a series of roundtables:

  • A roundtable with London and regional business leaders looking at supply chains
  • A roundtable with London and regional cultural leaders
  • A roundtable on Britons’ experience of visiting London and how to improve it
  • A roundtable with London and regional third sector leaders

If you are interested in contributing to the research or attending the launch event, please get in touch with Nicolas Bosetti.

[1] Wilcox Z., Nohrova N., Bidgood E. (2014). City views: How do Britain’s cities see London. Centre for Cities and Centre for London.


Major Sponsors

This project has been generously supported by

Supporting Sponsor

This project has been generously supported by