Workers are moving away from the capital to places like Manchester and Birmingham, and many major businesses are following suit.
The number of Londoners abandoning the capital has hit a 10-year high, as people move elsewhere looking for lower house prices and a better quality of life. With vastly improving job markets, transport links and amenities in other major cities, the number of 30-somethings exiting the capital is now higher than the number arriving.
According to the most recent official figures, 292,000 people moved out of London in the year to the middle of 2016, which is the highest number seen since 2006 and 14% higher than a decade earlier – and areas of the north and midlands are reaping the rewards.
Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the internal migration of 30-39-year-olds to Manchester and Birmingham was higher than the level leaving for the year ending June 2015. Manchester saw 1,136 members of the age group arriving, while it lost 1,034, and Birmingham welcomed 1,255 new residents in their 30s, while losing 1,010.
In total across all age groups, Manchester attracted 4,150 people specifically from London in the year to mid-2016, while Birmingham took in almost 6,500 Londoners.
In Leeds and Liverpool, the figures are evening out compared to what they were previously – 658 30-39-year-olds moved to Leeds compared to the 889 that left, while 461 of the age group moved to Liverpool as 512 moved out.
Big business in the north
Fashion firm Burberry has announced that it is relocating as many as 300 employees from London to Leeds in order to save money, with a new office for finance, IT and service jobs expected to open there in October this year.
Manchester is also attracting a number of big businesses, with Swiss electronics and technology distributor Distrelec choosing the northern city for its new European office – a move that will create more than 100 new jobs in St Peter’s Square in the city centre.
James Petit, head of real estate for UK & Ireland at Deutsche Asset Management – which funded the new office building – said: “We are pleased Distrelec has selected Manchester and 2 St Peter’s Square in which to base its European centre for technical expertise.
“We believe this underlines the increasing prominence of Manchester as a European business city and the exceptional quality 2 St Peter’s Square affords office occupiers seeking best in class accommodation.”
Liverpool is also set to be home to betting company SportPesa’s European head office, bringing a further 100 jobs, and HSBC is opening retail operations headquarters in Birmingham, with a new £200m office development that will employ about 4,000 people.
Labour has also said that if it wins in the next general election, it would consider moving part or most of the Bank of England to Birmingham, in order to spread more power and wealth across the country, putting less onus on London.
As the economy in the north of England and the midlands continues to gain strength and momentum, this migration trend looks set to continue.