(Photo from Milners Blog)
In the midst of the recent political and economic repercussions that have surrounded London in the past few months, it can become easy to be embroiled in the thought that ‘the city’ can prop up the nations current troubles. But to follow this dependent notion almost sounds as if, we as a nation, are falling into that common trap of being supported by the one economic engine that appears to keep the British jet air-born. But everyone knows, to keep a jet air-born, one engine is not enough for the duration of a journey.
A certainty that the recent Brexit vote has brought to light, is the vast need for economic equality across the UK. The reality of the matter is, this increased dependence on the capital in the face of recent adversity, would suggest that not only does the capital think that the northern cities of the UK need them, but that the feeling is mutual. It is these signs that expose the fragilities of the UK economy.
Yet, it is often easy to forget that in these times of economic struggle, that cities such as Leeds still posses the ability to flex their muscle and paint positive business stories. Take for instance the city’s most recent retail addition, Victoria Gate. Which is due to open just in time for the Christmas shopping brawl. Yes, another hub for the shopaholic, but a welcome addition for those who work in and around the city.
Moreover, whilst boasting one the largest student populations in the country, the vast pool of young adults is proving a catch for employers. Although it may lag vastly behind London in terms of the sheer volume of businesses that flock to the capital, it continues to boast an abundance of financial, law, pharmaceutical firms… the list goes on. Added to the substantially lower rents that firms face, and the widening disparity that London appears to create between itself and its so called friends, it is only further wetting the appetite of those firms that are currently placed in Leeds.
In the age where economic headlines increasingly revolve around London, it can be easy to forget the opportunities that can be created elsewhere. Let us learn from the lessons that the Brexit vote taught us. Let us show that northern cities can be at the heart of a successful British economy. But most importantly, let us hope that the Government can unlock this potential, for only then will it be able to boast a success of Brexit.
By Matthew Brown