London: The Best And Worst Of England

Its metropolitan area now includes almost 20 million people; some politicians welcome the influx, but there is a darker side to this manic growth.
December 6, 2003, 3pm PST | David Gest
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"Over the next 15 years, the capital's population is predicted to grow by a further 700,000 to hit the eight million mark. To cope, the city will need 70,000 new homes, along with more schools, hospitals, teachers and nurses. All the while, the capital's transport infrastructure is buckling, the environment is filthy and social services are struggling...[the government’s] unsustainable plans for new homes in [area suburbs] are providing the foundations for a new commuter civilization...41 per cent of London children (around 300,000) live below the poverty line. The city has the largest number of unemployed people in the country. Inner London schools record the lowest absolute attainment in England while the capital boasts the highest number of fee-paying parents." Only if Britain's other major cities "can reclaim their commercial and cultural mantle as great cities will there be any hope" of relief for London.

Thanks to David Gest

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Published on Sunday, November 30, 2003 in The Observer
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