New poll finds that most people feel the economy, politics and media are too London-centric

Only a quarter of people living outside of London (24 per cent) believe the Capital benefits the economy where they live, despite many acknowledging the benefits it has for the UK economy as a whole.

Press release published on 13 May 2014

That is one of a number of headline findings from a wide ranging new YouGov poll, commissioned by the Centre for Cities for a joint project with Centre for London, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, examining the perceptions that people across the country have of London.

The poll surveyed individuals nationally and across 16 major UK cities to ask how they feel London affects their lives.

Alongside ambivalence when it comes to London’s economic impact, the national results (excluding London) show that on a range of political and cultural issues, many people are skeptical about the influence the Capital has on their daily lives.

  • More than three out of five (64 per cent) of those surveyed said the location of Whitehall and Parliament means political decisions are too focused on London compared to the rest of the UK;
  • Only 17 per cent of respondents believe that Whitehall and Parliament are responsive to the issues in their town or city.
  • More than three quarters of people (76 per cent) believe the national coverage of news stories in the UK is very or fairly focused on London.

The poll also indicates that people’s proximity to, and experiences of, London shape their perceptions of the city.

  •  In the 12 cities located more than 100 miles from London, only 17 per cent said that they felt London had a positive effect on their local economy, compared to 53 per cent in the four cities closest to London.
  • 23 per cent of people in cities who have not lived in London previously felt the Capital has a positive effect on their local economy, compared to 35 per cent who have lived in London previously.
  • In the 12 cities located furthest away from London, 71 per cent thought that the location of Whitehall and Parliament means that political decisions are too focused on London compared to the rest of the UK. This decreases to 50 per cent in the four cities surveyed closest to London.

Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities said:
“This poll shows that the vast majority of people living in cities outside the Capital feel that London dominates economically, politically and culturally – and that its growth does not benefit their city. At a time when ‘rebalancing’ is firmly on the political agenda for all the main political parties, the challenge for politicians is to make the most of London as a global city, but at the same time make sure other cities have the powers and freedoms they need to take on more prominent economic, political and cultural roles across the country.”

Stephen Pegge, Group External Relations Director at Lloyds Banking Group, said:
“It is clear, that an improving economy in London will deliver very real benefits for all, but, there is untapped potential throughout the UK, and a stronger UK economy has to be based on a positive relationship between our Capital and our great city regions. Lloyds Banking Group has launched a series of seven bold commitments to help all of Britain prosper and it will play its part over the coming years to turn the Plan into a reality.”

Ben Rogers, Director of Centre for London said:
“These findings strongly suggest that London has to do more to ensure that people outside the capital take a positive view of its contribution. That can’t just be a ‘sales’ job. It will involve engaging with people’s concerns and ensuring that London is seen to be going the extra mile. The Mayor rightly spends a lot of time and resource promoting London abroad and deepening links with countries around the world. He now needs to do the same with other parts of the UK.”


For further information or to request a copy of the report please contact Rita Beden, Interim External Affairs Manager at Centre for Cities: / 020 7803 4303.

The report City Views: How do Britain’s cities see London? will be available from 00.01, 13 May 2014 here.

Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4166 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between the 11th and 19th March 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of either all UK adults (aged 18+) or all adults in each city surveyed (aged 18+). These were Newcastle, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Brighton and Hove, Leicester, Southampton, Southend, and Milton Keynes


About Centre for London

Centre for London is a politically non-aligned think tank and registered charity focused on helping London meet its great challenges and build on its great strengths.

About Lloyds Banking Group

With a heritage of making a difference within its communities that spans decades, last year Lloyds Banking Group invested £85m in UK Communities. Through its branches and businesses the Group has the potential to reach every family and community in the UK, and places immense value on its commitment to helping Britain prosper. Driven by its desire to give back to the communities in which it operates, the Group supports a wide range of ground breaking programmes. Lloyds Scholars, Money for Life, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Community Fund, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Business Connectors, Lloyds Bank Foundations and the Bank of Scotland Foundation are some, but not exhaustive, examples of the programmes it supports.

About Lloyds Banking Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan

In developing the Helping Britain Prosper Plan over the past year, Lloyds Banking Group has worked with a range of stakeholders and key opinion formers, including The Group’s independent stakeholder panel.
Working with the professional services organisation EY, the underpinning prosper metrics that support the plan, have been designed based on a number of external benchmarks including; the Legatum Prosperity Index, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Better Life Index and the UK Quality of Life Indicators. This has allowed the Group to identify the best ways in which it can help Britain prosper through specific business activities and investments. The Helping Britain Prosper Plan documents the Group’s intention to focus on these activities, setting out clear commitments to help it measure its progress.

About the Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador Programme

Lloyds Banking Group has a strong community focus and we work at the regional level with local MPs to inform and involve them in our activities at a community level. Every UK region and nation has a dedicated Ambassador from the Group who is charged with understanding the challenges facing their area. There are ten Ambassadors in total.
The Ambassador works with MPs and other appropriate authorities to inform them about our impact in the communities, and works closely with a wide range of stakeholders who have a mutual interest in helping Britain to prosper. Each Ambassador chairs a regional Executive Committee which meets on a regular basis and is populated by senior colleagues from our Retail, Commercial and Community and Sustainable Business divisions.

Our work at regional level is part of our responsible business strategy to strengthen our commitment to UK communities.