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R K

The Only Way Is Manchester

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Simon Jenkins gets it.

http://www.theguardi..._medium=twitter

Davis's series at least faces the north-south gap head-on. London is indeed devouring the national wealth. It is larger than the next eight English conurbations combined. As a result it draws to its core not just wealth but population, enterprise, infrastructure, migrants and culture. There is no comparison between it and the others. London is a humming, exhilarating global city. Its buildings are handsome; its housing desirable and therefore expensive; its shops, theatres, restaurants, media and intellectual life stimulating. No wonder the world beats a path to its door.

The undeniable gap cannot be healthy. It strips the north of investment and talent and thus hinders its growth. Large fiscal transfers are needed to compensate. London's political clout draws to it every privilege. Its citizens benefit from almost £650 a head of public transport investment a year, against some £250 devoted to the north. Arts spending is heavily weighted towards London. Media attention is almost exclusively London-focused.

It is plainly unfair that London is showered with privileges, with disproportionate transport grants, a puny local tax base and a cultural plutocracy. But the answer is not a confederacy of online pseudo-hubs. If provincial England is ever to challenge London, it must choose one of its own as powerful "second city", with a magnetic core fit for purpose. This must be Manchester. It is the biggest city in the north, with new investment in group headquarters, health, education, media and culture. Its productivity is second only to London's. Manchester can draw on the most urbanised region in Europe, south Lancashire, with rich suburbs to the south and poor ones sorely in need of renewal to the north. It has a handsome centre with an emerging funky neighbourhood in the Northern Quarter and Tribeca-style warehouse flats along the canal corridor.
Urban counter-magnets demand tough choices. I would decentralise half of Whitehall to Manchester, and not just back offices. I would certainly move "Airport City", a new town designed to attract East Asian money and planned for the prosperous southern suburbs. It will consume a quarter of the city's green belt and divert resources from where it should be, in the depressed northern sector. The whole point of London's Canary Wharf was its location in the East End.

Meanwhile I would throw research projects at Manchester's universities and hospitals, subsidies at its orchestras, and heritage grants at its historic buildings. If the government really needs to spend £50bn on railways, I would give Manchester a proper underground tube, like proper big cities abroad, and do something for its dire regional road and rail links.

Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham will doubtless protest such pre-eminence for Manchester. But non-metropolitan England must choose. If it is serious about "minding the gap", the only way is Manchester.

Superb (and he's not even a Manc)

Edited by R K

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Bit handier for his second home in Snowdonia, perhaps.

Good!

Manchester has the Peaks, Dales, Cumbria & Snowdonia on its doorstep. London has.....er......

If I was investing for the next 30+ years it wouldn't be in London, it would be Manchester. Which is why the smart money has been doing just that.

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When I was growing up in my home town of brum was always considered the second city. Would've been nice if some real investment could have made it there. It really must have been the most neglected second city in the western world.

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This must be Manchester.

Maybe a good idea if Manchester is able to (mainly) fund the expansion itself otherwise it sounds like yet another sinkhole for peoples' money living outside of Manchester - and no coincidence about the BBC's Salford location about 8 miles away.

Edited by billybong

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The breathtaking scale of development by ADUG around Manchester City is only just starting to become apparent. The eastern side of the city centre has historically been the most neglected and deprived but the Commonwealth Games in 2002 kicked off a major regeneration which is soon to grow into the leading academy and training facility of any sport anywhere in the world. Add to that a whole raft of new attractions - theme park?, F1 circuit?, concert venue?, horse racing track? - East Manchester is turning into a world class landmark in its own right.

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Leeds has been coming up too, especially as an internet hub. Quite a few ISP's located there now.

Sadly we appear to be in a battle to maintain some of our better trans pennine rolling stock some of the better stuff is being moved to Chiltern Railways, so Northern commuters will continue to be stuck in 70/80's cattle wagons.

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/barry-sheerman-blasts-loss-transpennine-6806103

Over 4.6M use Huddersfield Railway station in 12 months (which is handy for both Leeds and Manchester).

We don't need to dig expensive tunnels as they already exist under the Pennines. Indeed we have surplus capacity.

But I reckon they'll just chuck all the money at London.

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Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham will doubtless protest such pre-eminence for Manchester. But non-metropolitan England must choose. If it is serious about "minding the gap", the only way is Manchester.

There was a story a few weeks ago, which I watched on BBC North-West Tonight, about the possibility of making Manchester and Liverpool a supercity.

Cut costs, share resources, take on London. Apparently put forward by the former Goldman Sachs economist who coined the term “Brics.”

If businesses saw the advantages they would come to Manchester anyway - and some are making that move. South Manchester house prices still in a super-bubble though, in my opinion.

It's been suggested in a documentary about the north/south divide that Manchester and Liverpool could merge into a super-city - to help increase the north's power. Liverchester or Manpool?

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"I would certainly move "Airport City", a new town designed to attract East Asian money and planned for the prosperous southern suburbs. "

Where would he move "airport city" to?

Isn't the point that it's near the airport?

Offices

1.0m sq ft (92, 903)

• Hotels

2,400 hotel beds

• Advanced Manufacturing

650,000 sq ft (60,387m2)

• Multi Storey Car Park

Exisiting Properties

Transport Interchange & 4M

Voyager

Radisson Hotel

Hilton Hotel

Manchester Business Park

Olympic House

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Bewleys Hotel

Premier Inn Hotels

Travelodge

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Where would he move "airport city" to?

Isn't the point that it's near the airport?

It will consume a quarter of the city's green belt and divert resources from where it should be, in the depressed northern sector.

Jenkins is of course a dreadful old NIMBY.

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Yes, that's why and the national trust owns a big chunk of prosperous S. Manchester/leafy Cheshire.

Its a very clever article and shows a change of tack.

NIMBY's know they can't just oppose everything (as they get called NIMBY's) so this one appears to be pro- development.

Basically he's saying don't build on Manchesters green belt!

Of course they could build this 'Airport City' (makes sense as its near the airport) and re-green the grotty Northern bits where there is no business interest.

But no, the sacred cows have to be kept intact, in the hope no one bothers at all.

Despite being thick and stupid, with all the megatalent down in London, the North functions like a mega City anyway, we trundle across the Pennines in 30 year old rolling stock. Despite that I'm only 30 mins away from Manchester which equates pretty well with my old 20 min commute from Gidea Park to Liverpool Street.

Edited by aSecureTenant

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Meanwhile I would throw research projects at Manchester's universities and hospitals, subsidies at its orchestras, and heritage grants at its historic buildings. If the government really needs to spend £50bn on railways, I would give Manchester a proper underground tube, like proper big cities abroad, and do something for its dire regional road and rail links.

Then he's got to decide where the grand idea money comes from.

For instance is it going to be at London's expense and/or the rest of the country - taxpayers money as it doesn't seem likely to be from proper rebalancing of the economy anytime soon. If it's partly overseas money they'll want a return on it or at least not to lose money. So huge house/property price increases yet again. Even more debt and maybe he's going to just print most of it up. Young locals will be thrilled at the loveliness of it all while they are living shanty style on zero hour contracts.

As usual plenty of pie in the sky spending ideas but no explanation at all on how to fund it and what the consequences might be - and as for people being given a vote on it.

It sounds very much like a dying embers idea - another one.

Edited by billybong

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Its a very clever article and shows a change of tack.

NIMBY's know they can't just oppose everything (as they get called NIMBY's) so this one appears to be pro- development.

Basically he's saying don't build on Manchesters green belt!

Of course they could build this 'Airport City' (makes sense as its near the airport) and re-green the grotty Northern bits where there is no business interest.

But no, the sacred cows have to be kept intact, in the hope no one bothers at all.

Despite being thick and stupid, with all the megatalent down in London, the North functions like a mega City anyway, we trundle across the Pennines in 30 year old rolling stock. Despite that I'm only 30 mins away from Manchester which equates pretty well with my old 20 min commute from Gidea Park to Liverpool Street.

The NT have been involved in teh release of land for what round here is quite major housing development - Stamford brook but I don't think that bit was technically green belt.

Still I'm not quite sure why Manchester is so great. Lots of other places seem better.

???

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Then he's got to decide where the grand idea money comes from.

For instance is it going to be at London's expense and/or the rest of the country - taxpayers money as it doesn't seem likely to be from proper rebalancing of the economy anytime soon. If it's partly overseas money they'll want a return on it or at least not to lose money. So huge house/property price increases yet again. Even more debt and maybe he's going to just print most of it up. Young locals will be thrilled at the loveliness of it all while they are living shanty style on zero hour contracts.

As usual plenty of pie in the sky spending ideas but no explanation at all on how to fund it and what the consequences might be - and as for people being given a vote on it.

It sounds very much like a dying embers idea - another one.

That money is being spent now (as he refers to in the article) but in London. It's pro-cyclical. The infrastructure & arts etc spending in London boosts the London economy, which demands increases in infrastructure spending, boosting investment and so in an ever upwards self-fulfilling expansion.

What he's saying is that this is harmful to the rest of the UK and that's clearly the case. Hence some of that spending needs to be re-directed to develop a virtuous circle elsewhere. Manchester being the obvious candidate.

I do think there's a possible subtext here relating to Simon Jenkins association with the Royals and so the Duke of Westminster might have extracted just about all he can from his Mayfair holdings and now be seeking to do something similar with his Northern/Cheshire land banks.

But the general principle of developing a counter-balancing Yin to the Death Star's Yang is so obvious I'm surprised it needs elucidating. Apparently, it does.

Short London/SE; Long Manchester trade for next 30 years. No-brainer.

Edited by R K

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That money is being spent now (as he refers to in the article) but in London. It's pro-cyclical. The infrastructure & arts etc spending in London boosts the London economy, which demands increases in infrastructure spending, boosting investment and so in an ever upwards self-fulfilling expansion.

What he's saying is that this is harmful to the rest of the UK and that's clearly the case. Hence some of that spending needs to be re-directed to develop a virtuous circle elsewhere. Manchester being the obvious candidate.

I do think there's a possible subtext here relating to Simon Jenkins association with the Royals and so the Duke of Westminster might have extracted just about all he can from his Mayfair holdings and now be seeking to do something similar with his Northern/Cheshire land banks.

But the general principle of developing a counter-balancing Yin to the Death Star's Yang is so obvious I'm surprised it needs elucidating. Apparently, it does.

Short London/SE; Long Manchester trade for next 30 years. No-brainer.

He's suggesting that Manchester and the surrounding region becomes a real rival to London. That's not going to be achieved by just moving the few things he mentioned to Manchester. That would be the equivalent of much less than a couple of percent of growth for London.That sort of thing has been tried before on that scale and didn't achieve more than treading water for areas outside of London and it won't achieve the scale of expansion he described for Manchester.

It would require something like an order of magnitude redirection of funding - a really massive amount and if that were to come out of London's funding it would mean a massive decline in London and he didn't suggest anything at all on that scale. At least not in the article with his rose tinted London continuing to be how he sees it at the moment " ..a humming, exhilarating global city. Its buildings are handsome; its housing desirable and therefore expensive; its shops, theatres, restaurants, media and intellectual life stimulating.".

The UK would indeed benefit from less London focus but the article raises more questions than answers - especially on funding and on consequences and he doesn't go into the question of whether and how Manchester could actually sustain such an idea/expansion.

Edited by billybong

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London already heavily subsidises the rest of the UK through its tax revenue. Its a bit churlish of Northerners to complain about how infrastructure spending is higher in London than elsewhere, when the bulk of that infrastructure is funded by tax money raised in London.

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London already heavily subsidises the rest of the UK through its tax revenue. Its a bit churlish of Northerners to complain about how infrastructure spending is higher in London than elsewhere, when the bulk of that infrastructure is funded by tax money raised in London.

...and how is that tax revenue earned exactly?

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Also realistically its not going to happen. Leaving aside the oil industry, the most successful industries in London (and by extension, the UK) are financial services, and tech. Both of these have strong network effects, where companies want to be located near other similar companies. Moving to Manchester just isn’t an option, since it would heavily impact your ability to meet clients and recruit staff (and no, teleconference is not ‘just as good’ as face to face interactions).

The recruitment point is also key; industries like finance/tech/etc are competiting for the best and highest skilled workers, from the world’s top universities. Very few of these people would want to move to Manchester. Obviosuly some people from the UK wouldn’t mind moving up North since its cheaper, but if you are from continental Europe/America/etc, its very unlikely that you would want to come to the UK and live in Birmingham/Manchester, rather than London. Its like if a British person was going to take a job in America; 90% of people would much rather live in a major global city like New York or Los Angeles, rather than in Philadelphia or Minneapolis, even though the latter are perfectly nice cities.

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...and how is that tax revenue earned exactly?

Corproation tax levied on successful companies and income/sales tax on high-skilled high earning workers, largely

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The recruitment point is also key; industries like finance/tech/etc are competiting for the best and highest skilled workers, from the world's top universities. Very few of these people would want to move to Manchester. Obviosuly some people from the UK wouldn't mind moving up North since its cheaper, but if you are from continental Europe/America/etc, its very unlikely that you would want to come to the UK and live in Birmingham/Manchester, rather than London. Its like if a British person was going to take a job in America; 90% of people would much rather live in a major global city like New York or Los Angeles, rather than in Philadelphia or Minneapolis, even though the latter are perfectly nice cities.

I just think London will get too expensive for its own good. People will wonder what the point is of earning a high London salary yet end up living as if they were still a student, in digs, bedsit or house sharing with really no advancement. Fun up until you are about 40.

Most of those London earnings ultimately really end up in the hands of rentiers who don't do an awful lot. Duke of Westminster etc..

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