Is London a drain on other UK cities?

London is by far the most economically productive part of the UK but are politicians like Vince Cable right to be concerned that its success might be hampering other cities?

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Cities dominate the UK. Both Manchester and Leeds have economies of over £50bn, which makes them more productive than the entirety of Wales.

However, the rest of the country is somewhat outgunned by London's size and scale. It accounts for roughly one-fifth of jobs and businesses and one-quarter of the UK's economic output.

London's sheer dominance has led some, including business secretary Vince Cable, to call the capital a drain on the rest of the country. The new Cities Outlook report by the Centre for Cities compiled various data sources to discover whether this is true.

Migration to London - is there a brain drain?

One of the factors when looking at how London affects other cities is to establish what exactly it takes away. According to the report, it seems that one of the big losses could be young talent.

The theory behind a brain drain is that if one city is attracting all the talented graduates then other places are missing out on those skills.

Overall, London loses people to the rest of the country with 933,000 people moving elsewhere each year - equivalent to the entire populations of Nottingham and Bolton combined - and 775,000 moving into the capital.
However, almost one-in-three of the 20- to 30-year-olds that decided to relocate between 2009 and 2012 moved to London. People tend to leave when they are aged 30 and over. The report also analysed student migration flows into large cities. The conclusion was that these cities were attracting students but losing them to London once they had graduated.

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