Saturday, 27 June 2015

Selling cities by the pound

Originally posted on Centre for London blog 26 June 2015

The Cole Commission on UK Exports has published its report at a time when the Government’s target of achieving £1 trillion in exports by 2020 seems as distant as ever, with export levels stalled at around half that value, and a widening trade gap.

The Commission, originally set up by the Labour Party, recommends some sensible streamlining, including a new cabinet committee and the merger of UK Trade and Investment and UK Export Finance, and also recommend a more locally tailored ‘one stop shop’ service for small businesses wanting to expand through exporting, delivered through chambers of commerce.

But they seem to miss a trick in ignoring the potential role for the UK’s cities. Indeed, the report hardly seems aware of the gradual programme of negotiated devolution overseen by this government and the coalition, nor of the active role being played by cities like Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and London in pushing exports promotion at a metropolitan level.

These cities have been learning from the experience of their US competitors (and potential partners). Research by the Brookings Institution, as part of a join initiative with JPMorgan, identified that the 100 largest US cities accounted for 75 per cent of exports of goods and services, and that export growth accounted for 50 per cent of their output growth following the 2008 recession.

Centre for London worked with JPMorgan and Brookings to review London’s exports strategy (our report Trading Places was published in November), and convened a meeting with the UK’s ten core cities to discuss how cities could play a more active role, using city-to-city partnerships, sharing experience with US cities with the same economic profile, and working locally to create the business environment that international trade requires.

We found huge enthusiasm for more active engagement among city governments, but also some frustration. Statistics don’t allow the detailed breakdown of data (especially on service sector exports) that would allow cities to identify priorities, set targets and monitor performance. Performance targets for UKTI don’t reflect the diverse make up of different local economies. And the task of planning for export growth is not within the remits of local authorities or local enterprise partnerships.

With continuing austerity, the UK’s cities are facing huge challenges, but are also rediscovering the civic entrepreneurialism that created many of our great city centres, and which can recreate thriving economies. Cities will never supplant the international infrastructure of embassies and trade missions, but they should become partners, not just bystanders, as we seek to regain our eminence in global trade.

When the music's over

Originally posted on Londonist 24 June 2015

As the annual exodus to Glastonbury begins, recently-published research reminds us that live music is about a lot more than wellies and sun cream. Wish You Were Here, published by UK Music, shows that London generated more than £660m income from music tourism last year, supporting nearly 5,000 jobs. The UK leads the world in music exports, and London is the proving ground for many of the artists who will be shuttling round the international festival scene this summer.

But, as London grows, are we choking the ecosystem that gave the sector such strength? Pressure is mounting on venues across the capital. The Astoria was lost to Crossrail, Soho’s 12 Bar Club and Madame JoJo’s to redevelopment, the Bull and Gate to a gastropub, the Foundry in Shoreditch to a chic hotel, the Luminaire in Kilburn to high spec apartments. Other venues, like the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, remain under threat.

But development pressure is not the only challenge. The Night Time Industries Association, which represents gig venues, bars and clubs, this week launched a report arguing that the licensing regime is anachronistic, or even atavistic, holding on to outdated myths about binge-drinking and alcohol-fuelled crime, and viewing the night time economy as a risk to be regulated, not as a source of creativity, income generation and global soft power. Madam JoJo’s, for example, was shut down after a violent incident (though its demolition was already planned by the freeholder).

Is there space, NTIA asks, for a more constructive dialogue between venue owners, the police and licensing authorities, rather than the current battle against the night? Who should be responsible for managing the behaviour of revellers once they have left bars and clubs? Should licensing look at benefits as well as risks? How does the liberalisation of a 24-hour tube link to a clampdown on late licences? Does London really want to be a 24-hour city?

The issues that NTIA is grappling with reflect our uneasy and Janus-faced attitude towards the transformation of our city. We revel in the late-night opening and myriad clubs that are available to us when we are in our 20s, but then tut at the vomit-stained pavements and late night racket that they generate as we get older. We move in for the night life, but we stay for the peace and quiet.

This tension came to a head in the long battle between ‘megaclub’ Ministry of Sound in Elephant and Castle and a developer working on an adjacent site. MoS opposed the planning application, as it expected new residents to object immediately to noise levels, and force the nightclub to turn it down or simply shut down. The development will now go ahead following agreement of additional sound-proofing for the flats and acknowledgement by all parties that current sound levels can continue. But clubs are also going or gone in Vauxhall, at Farringdon, at Kings Cross — in all the once-marginal and permissive locations where hip clubland credentials sowed the seeds of sanitisation.

To be fair, there’s always been some churn in London venues, and middle-aged men like me need to be cautious about rosy-tinted nostalgia for their old haunts. Some of the venues I remember fondly were decidedly grotty, fully meriting their designation as the ‘toilet circuit’ (Kilburn’s Luminaire, which had an eccentric policy of treating punters like human beings, was an honourable exception).

And London’s nightlife is of course finding new hotpots – from Dalston, to Stratford, to New Cross.  But the loss of small music venues from inner city streets, and of clubs from its fringes, could be seen as faint warning signals that London is losing something — the diversity that makes a world city, the grit that creates pearls, the rich soil that supports shoots of creativity.

The bridge and the troubled waters

Originally posted on Public Finance 8 June 2015

The European public procurement directives will probably be quite low on David Cameron’s to-do list as he shuttles to Brussels to renegotiate the UK’s EU membership. But the increasingly irate debates over the Mayor of London’s proposed Garden Bridge are an object lesson in the problems these can cause when political initiative rubs up against technocratic process.

The directives require all public spending over specific levels to be openly tendered, including through the Official Journal of the EU (the 'OJEU' that gives the regulations their name). These are intended to ensure transparency and a level playing field across the bloc, but the complexity and length of time taken (OJEU procurements can take six months or longer) have a number of perverse consequences (and there are persistent mutterings that other countries don’t seem to take them quite as seriously as ‘we’ do).

Complying with the regulations involves delay and paperwork, so ‘going over the OJEU threshold’ is something that all public servants try to avoid. One strategy is to try to break down contracts to keep them under the limit. Another is to rely on opaque ‘call off contracts’ or ‘panel arrangements’ where a small number of (usually large) suppliers are assembled on to a panel, among whom individual commissions are divvied up. This creates a closed shop for the period of the panel, and combines with the complexity of the procurement process and a cautious approach to scoring financial risk, to exclude the local small businesses that many politicians have pledged to support.

The problem becomes acute when it comes to big ideas like the Garden Bridge, rather than more run-of-the-mill projects. The theory is that an elected authority carefully develops strategies and policies, and prepares budgets and tender documentation for the projects identified. Following exhaustive planning, consultation and procurement processes, these are commissioned and delivered.

But anyone who has worked in public administration knows, life isn’t quite like that. The man from the ministry (or the Mayor’s office) no longer has a monopoly on wisdom, and probably never did.  Ideas emerge from civil society, from private initiative, from every angle. Politicians grab good ones, and their teams currently have to twist themselves into knots trying to create the process that will lead to the right answer.

The Garden Bridge row is a case in point. Whatever you think of the proposal, recent revelations in the Observer tell a typical story. Joanna Lumley, designer Thomas Heatherwick and others approached the Mayor of London with an idea, Boris liked it, and that idea is now being pushed forward. Between these two points, there was a process that can perhaps most politely be described as ‘messy’ whereby there was a competition, which the Lumley-Heatherwick proposal won. Cue understandable anger from other, disappointed, architects, and negative coverage that the project does not need right now.

But the alternative would have been just as problematic. Other people have proposed garden bridges in London from time to time, but would the Heatherwick design team have put so much work into developing and promoting their proposal if there was a good chance that someone else would have ended up getting the commission?

Open and transparent procurement is an important defence against corruption, kickbacks and simple waste, but the European regulations set technocratic process against political accountability.  Mayors and other politicians will be approached with bright ideas from time to time. Surely they should have political space to judge how bright these are, and to implement them, subject to safeguards and controls – not least, the electorate’s ability to eject politicians who pursue vanity projects?

Rather than going through cosmetic competitions, perhaps the elected leaders of public authorities should be allowed to sign a statement formally exempting a project from open procurement, and setting out their reasons (a similar process is followed for some Freedom of Information exemptions). These exemptions would be published and would be intently scrutinised, by the press and opposition politicians, so political leaders would be reluctant to sign them unless they felt they had a really strong case – a unique idea, a genuine emergency, an economic justification for keeping a contract locally. This certification process could be accompanied by internal or external review of value for money.

The Garden Bridge has been criticised as a vanity project and rouses strong opinions on all sides, but our cities would be poorer if politicians were unable to grab hold of big ideas and help to make them happen. Reforming EU procurement legislation could save an enormous amount of ducking, weaving and bad faith, and allow politicians to decide and be held accountable for how public money is spent.

The drugs don't work

Originally posted in Guardian Housing Network, 15 May 2015

Housing was a far bigger issue in the 2015 general election manifestos than in 2010, and generated some of the campaign’s most controversial policy proposals. This reflects a growing public sense of crisis, and the combination of rising prices and slow construction that is particularly toxic in London, where the average house cost 11 times average earnings in 2014 (compared to seven times nationwide).

It is no surprise then that polling by Ipsos Mori shows that 28% of Londoners see housing as a top issue facing Britain today, compared with 13% nationwide. Housing is also not such a big issue for Conservative voters, and London is an increasingly Labour city, so will it remain high on the to-do list – and how will policies affect London?

The Conservative manifesto pledged to build 200,000 discounted starter homes for first-time buyers, to establish help-to-buy Isa savings accounts and to give housing association tenants the right to buy their homes. But London’s house and land prices are so high these policies will have least impact on the housing crisis in the city where it is most acute.

Help-to-buy take up has been much lower in London to date, and the new help-to-buy Isa has a maximum savings limit of £12,000, which will make only a small dent in affordability when London first-time buyer deposits are as high as £50,000.

The extension of right to buy could cost London the most, while benefitting it least. The National Housing Federation estimates that only 15% of London housing association tenants would be able to afford to buy their property, compared with 35% in northern England. But these discounted sales will be cross-subsidised by sales of the most expensive council houses, which will raise most cash in London (though high replacement costs will reduce the amount raised).

Whether boosting demand will boost supply is much debated, but the manifesto made some proposals about supply too. Measures to encourage use of brownfield and public sector land will be important in London, though much brownfield land in London is already allocated. Building on the green belt seems to be prohibited, while new garden cities will only be built where these are “locally led” (which probably rules them out in much of south-east England).

The impact of these measures may be limited in London, and parliamentary time dominated by other issues, but the coming state of constitutional flux offers an opportunity. Thanks to fixed-term parliaments, we know which party will be in government in early 2020. But we are a lot foggier about what they will be governing: a United Kingdom standing apart from its European neighbours; a loose federation of resurgent nation states; or an uneasy and asymmetric patchwork of provinces?

If all this is on the table, then housing in London must be. If the national prescription doesn’t work in London, then the next mayor should make the case for something that does; not for special treatment, but for more powers, resources and flexibility – to build more, better and faster.

London boroughs are starting to build again, and should be less restricted in borrowing against future revenue streams (including rent). The mayor should be able to establish more housing zones and development corporations to build homes using public land.

There is also a case to be made for pooling developers’ affordable housing payments across London to support a London-wide programme for affordable housing. The next mayor may also want to encourage higher densities in outer London, or push to look again at London’s green belt, and ask where releasing land (perhaps under public sector control) might provide more housing and more enjoyable green space.

Many of these solutions are highly interventionist and some would be controversial but it is hard to build the housing needed in a city like London without putting some noses out of joint. Mayors can do that. The political complexion of the incumbent should not make a difference; whatever the capital’s voting patterns, its housing crisis cannot be allowed to strangle growth.

Candidates for mayor in 2016 will vie to demonstrate that they understand the urgency of the crisis, and are committed to action. Housing could be the big issue in the next mayoral campaign; it is in everyone’s interest for the winner to be given the powers and resources to deliver on their promises.

No direction home

Originally posted on Centre for London's blog 27 April 2015

Londoners worry differently. We are less concerned about immigration and the NHS than other Brits, but much more anxious about housing – in 2014, 28 per cent of Londoners cited housing as one of the most important issues facing the country, versus 13 per cent across Great Britain (Ipsos MORI Issues Index, 2014 aggregated data).

The symptoms of the housing crisis are more pronounced in London, too. The average house price is seven times the average salary across England, but 11 times the average salary in London. Prices rose by 28 per cent across England between late 2008 and late 2014, but by 53 per cent in London (60 per cent in inner London).

This divergence is hurting the rest of the country as well as London: at a recent Centre for London event, former mayoral candidate Steve Norris described high housing prices as “both a fortress and a cage” preventing mobility between London and the rest of the UK, and undermining productivity.

So it looks like good news that the main party manifestos are making commitments on housing. But the specific symptoms and scale of London’s housing crisis call for specific solutions; many of the policies being touted are likely to have least impact in the Capital, where the housing crisis is most acute. The manifestos are missing the mark.

For example, whatever its much-debated merits as policy, the Conservatives’ proposal to extend right-to-buy to housing association tenants will have least impact in London, where the National Housing Federation estimates that only 15 per cent of tenants would be able to afford to buy their property (even with a discount), as opposed to 35 per cent in Northern England. Similarly, Help-to-Buy ISAs’ maximum savings of £12,000 will only make a small dent in affordability in a city where first time buyer deposits are as high as £50,000. And high land prices may make London the least economic location for 200,000 discounted starter homes.

Labour’s plans for new garden cities could relieve pressure on London, if implemented, though a commitment to working through consensus will make it hard to find sites in South East England. A preference for local first time buyers seems parochially mismatched to London’s churning population; born-and-bred Londoners do struggle to afford somewhere to live, but so do the thousands of young people who come to London every year and fuel the Capital’s economy. Meanwhile, the Mansion Tax would affect more than 100,000 householders in London, many of whom are not particularly high earners, or ‘mansion-dwellers’ by any normal definition.

To be fair, other policies will have more of an impact: the Conservatives commitment to fund brownfield land development, as prefigured by the London Land Commission announced in the budget, could favour the capital. Labour’s commitment to rent controls will be controversial with landlords, but could make a real difference to private sector renters (who comprise 24 per cent of London households, against 15 per cent in England and Wales), and powers to intervene against land-banking speculators could ginger up housing supply (London has 216,000 homes with planning permission in the ‘pipeline’).

Party manifestos are national documents, so maybe we should not expect them to be tailored to the specifics of an asymmetric housing crisis. And they are defensive as well as aspirational, seeking to offer pledges and commitments that will appeal to the majority, without opening up a flank that the other side can attack. But if London’s growth continues to outstrip expectations, how will the city find space for the ten million people forecast to live here by 2030? This is a highly-charged debate, on which the manifestos are silent: should we pursue more housing estate redevelopment, more council-led building to supplement housebuilders’ limited capacity, higher densities in suburban locations, remodeling the Green Belt, allowing more commercial-to-residential conversion?

Each of these ideas has its advocates, but each also has bitter opponents; losers as well as winners. The discussion may be as controversial in London as it is nationwide, but it will be harder for mayoral candidates to duck an issue that is so important to Londoners. Whether government lets them make a difference is a different matter, and the omens are not promising. Amidst all the talk of city deals and devolution, the modest proposal made last year in the Inspector’s report on the London Plan, that London should begin to think more radically about where it could accommodate new housing, was firmly slapped down by planning minister Brandon Lewis: Green Belt was sacrosanct, and there would be no going back to regional planning.

Nonetheless, perhaps the candidates standing for election as London’s next Mayor in a year’s time will feel the urgency of the crisis, claim the mandate, and demand the powers and resources to do something about it. And maybe, just maybe, the next government will listen.

Come bouncing back

Boris Johnson will be banging the drum for the capital with his accustomed panache as he visits Boston and New York this week. That’s not surprising: London has a great story to tell.
But, while we are quick to celebrate London’s gravity-defying recovery from the last recession, we still do not fully understand it. At an LSE London lecture last week, Professor of Human Geography Ian Gordon sought to redress the balance by asking why the capital did not just survive the 2007 financial crash; in its wake, it actually thrived.

It’s a multi-billion dollar question, not least because London looked pretty vulnerable as the crisis unfolded. Unlike previous recessions, which had hit the Midlands and north harder, the early 1990s recession had its greatest impact in London, reflecting a shift from manufacturing to “speculation” (broadly-defined, to include housing and stock markets as well as knowledge-intensive activity).

A lot of people (including Gordon, and me) expected the years after 2007 to be a re-run, or worse. Instead, between 2007 and 2013, employment in five central London boroughs rose by 23 per cent, a faster annual growth rate than in the period running up to the crash, though unemployment rose across London, and job number recovery rates in the rest of the capital remained at much the same level as the rest of the UK.

Gordon reflected on whether there were structural features of London's economy that helped it survive. He also asked whether there were policy biases in terms of public and private investment and cutbacks, and whether the programmes of economic intervention (bail-outs, guarantees and quantitative easing) had features that favoured London.

The first two factors certainly contributed something. Structurally, the devaluation of the pound by 25 per cent between 2007 and 2009 could have helped tourism and investment (more on this below). What’s more, businesses fought to retain skilled workers , who are disproportionately located in London. And London’s economy was well-equipped to continue to supply luxury goods to rich individuals whose wealth was relatively unaffected by financial vicissitudes (the “plutonomy model”, named after the CitiGroup reports of the mid-2000s).

There were also policy biases towards London. The 2012 Olympics and Crossrail were big capital projects sponsored by government, which boosted the ability of London construction services firms to sell their skills overseas. There is some evidence that firms headquartered in London were quicker to lay off branch office than head office personnel, too.

But these factors shrink in significance, Gordon argued, compared to the sheer weight of financial intervention. He cited Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England in valuing the guarantees given to banks as equivalent to a subsidy of £100bn in 2009 alone (through their reductions in the cost of borrowing).

Meanwhile, quantitative easing was designed to divert nervous money away from safe bonds into more risky and productive investments – but, coupled with low interest rates, it encouraged a surge in equity prices. (Some went to emerging markets in search of even higher returns.) The FTSE 100 index rose from a low of less than 4,000 in 2009 to nearly 7,000 today – around the level of its 2008 high – delivering great returns for many investors.

But the job growth in the five boroughs studied (City of London, Westminster, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Hackney) was not restricted to financial services. It was also in property, real estate and engineering, tourism, hotels and restaurants, public services, and creative and digital businesses.
Some of the growth in professional property and engineering activity can be attributed to the big capital projects, and the confidence that London’s 2012 success created. Growth in creative and digital businesses includes not only Tech City (about which Gordon was sceptical), but also IT support to increasingly tech-driven financial services. Finally, a buoyant stock market does much to help the higher end of the restaurant business: witness the profusion of £100 per head openings around the hedge-y hotspots of Mayfair.

Going beyond Gordon’s careful analysis, it’s also worth asking what part London’s booming property market played. The devaluation of the pound did little to boost tourism in the short term (visitor numbers did not return to their 2007 levels until 2012); but it did make London a safe haven for overseas investment.

Much of this investment went into property, and particularly the prime central London market, where 60 per cent of purchases by value were by overseas buyers in 2007-11. And after a brief slowdown in 2008, prices recovered fast, rising by 45 per cent across central London by 2013.

But, unlike prices, transaction volumes remained stubbornly low; they fell by about 40 per cent in 2007, and have remained pretty low ever since. In other words, buyers' money was flooding in, but sellers weren't responding; the market has failed to regain its pre-crash liquidity.

Investors wanting to increase their exposure, or to invest gains made in the stock market, had limited options for new purchases. So many chose to extend or dig down, creating catacombs of wealth in London’s most desirable streets – and contributing to the growth in employment in construction, engineering and allied trades.

So, the recovery in London’s economy, or at least in job numbers, has been focused on a very small area of the city. Perhaps more significantly, it could be seen as based on the wealth of a fairly small section of the population, and their spending habits, from underground cinemas to Michelin-starred restaurants.

This influx and expansion of wealth in central London may or may not be a good thing in itself – it has generated employment for a lot of Londoners, but its impact on property prices and the cost of living has stretched far beyond central London. And we shouldn’t become complacent about what it means for the future.

Gordon suggests that, just as this unique set of circumstances cushioned London in the downturn, they are also amplifying a speculative upswing. Central London may not have escaped the recession by means of our extraordinary civic virtue and vigour, by the discovery of some magic formula that has “abolished boom and bust” (remember that?).

Rather, he suggests, it may have prospered through a happy co-incidence of circumstances that has papered over the cracks. A change in interest rates, or exchange rates, or a crash in property prices could also have amplified impacts – equally and oppositely.

How London’s economy will fare longer term is a matter for crystal ball-gazing, not secure prediction. But we owe it to ourselves to reflect more rationally and systematically on whether London has achieved such apparently gravity-defying success through luck or good judgement. Those answers may be helpful if – when the tables turn.

City sickness?

Originally published on CityMetric on 19 January 2015

The Centre for Cities’ City Outlook 2015, out today, tells a story of continuing success for the capital. Since the mid-1990s, the capital’s population and economy have been growing in tandem, and the city quickly regained the economic ground lost in the early 2000s and in the last recession.

Over the past ten years, in fact, London’s population has grown by 1.1m. The number of private sector jobs in the city have risen by 650,000, and the number of businesses by 115,000. The growth in population is greater in absolute terms, but the economic indicators are rising more quickly. London’s economy is growing faster than its population.

The sector that grew fastest, accounting for one third of London’s net new jobs over the past decade, was “professional, scientific & technical activities” – a sector which includes professions such as law, engineering, architectural design and accountancy, as well as management consultancy, advertising, and research & development. London’s economy is increasingly dominated by knowledge-intensive, highly-skilled businesses.

Growth in these sectors is the holy grail of economic development, and something to be celebrated – but it presents challenges, too. Firstly, like other UK cities, London has stubbornly persistent levels of unemployment – the claimant count increased by 40,000 (around 25 per cent) over the decade, despite the growth in job numbers. The jobs being created are not in the sectors that are easily accessible to people with low skills levels. At the same time, entrepreneurs in London’s growth sectors are complaining that finding people with the right specialist and generic skills is one of the biggest problems they face in seeking to grow their businesses.

London also faces a growing affordability crisis, particularly in housing costs. Demand for new housing has outstripped supply by a factor of three: in the decade when London’s population grew by more than a million, its housing stock grew by less than 300,000. Combined with the popularity of property – even unoccupied property – as an asset for investment, this has fuelled spiralling house prices, with the average house costing more than 30 times the average wage in super-prime central London boroughs.

This affordability crisis is pushing many Londoners on modest incomes, including people in entry-level jobs in London’s growth sectors, out of the inner city to places where property costs may be cheaper. But high transport costs still inflict a heavy toll. The Centre for London’s report Hollow Promise called these people, earning less than average but above the benefits threshold, ENDIeS: people who are employed but with no disposal income or savings.

There is also evidence that some are moving even further afield than London’s suburbs: commuting from outside London grew by about ten per cent between 2001 and 2011, and recent reports showed that young Londoners are moving away from the capital in record numbers. In 2012-13, indeed, there was a net outflow of 22,000 30-something workers. This is leading to resurgent populations and job markets; but is also putting pressure on housing in other southern cities like Oxford, Cambridge and Brighton. These are seeing London-esque gaps between house prices and earnings, in part as a result of local wages lagging behind the house prices that London commuters can pay.

Taken together, housing affordability and skills are two of the capital’s biggest challenges, as reflected in business group London First’s recent London 2036: an agenda for jobs and growth report. Unless we build more housing and other infrastructure, and invest in our skills base, London’s long-term position as one of the pre-eminent world cities could be threatened.

Does this matter? For better or worse, London’s success over the last decade has been built on its appeal as the destination for skilled workers, from the UK and beyond. This has resulted in a skewed economy, for sure. The distribution of resources, talent and infrastructure has been meant a north/south (or, more accurately, an SE/rest of UK) divide.

But a more balanced economy could also be a less prosperous one. Talent has been concentrated in London, a pre-eminent global city; the alternative is not that we have multiple global cities, but that we have none, and that a big chunk of the business coming into the UK disappears.

Knowledge intensive businesses are not sentimental or nationalistic; with the right infrastructure in place, they can easily sell their services across borders. What they depend on above all is a highly skilled workforce; they will operate from whichever cities can offer them this workforce at competitive rates.

London offers not only the critical mass of high-skilled workers, but the infrastructure and the cultural energy which attracts the biggest, and most lucrative, international employers. Over the last ten years it has become increasingly important to the country’s economy. But if London continues to become unaffordable to everyone but the richest and the luckiest, it will lose the skills that have supported its growth, and growth across the UK.

Some firms may follow the talent to Birmingham or Bristol, and many would welcome that type of rebalancing within the UK economy. But a large number of firms would move to Berlin or Barcelona – and we will all lose out.

The UK’s regions may have lost out from internal migration, but they shouldn’t necessarily welcome the tide turning against the capital. Economically, at least, the affordability crisis in London could become a big problem for all of us.