London's Recovery Cleaves a Divided Britain

Giant construction cranes once again dot London's skyline, signs of the British capital's "spring recovery". But with more cranes in the capital than the rest of the country combined, the unbalanced recovery is further diving "two-speed Britain".

"House prices in London's swankiest districts are clocking up a rise of £27 every hour of the day and night. It sounds like a statistic from the dizzy days before the Great Recession, when ostentatious consumption was in, 'banker' had yet to become a dirty word, and the capital prided itself on providing a haven for the world's super-rich," write Heather StewartKatie Allen and Nigel Bunyan. "But it's the story today in the prime postcodes, which are basking in a spring recovery yet to be felt in the rest of Britain."

"But if London begins to pull yet further away from the rest of the UK as recovery takes root, resentment may grow that the crucible of the financial crisis which plunged the economy into the deepest recession in a generation is – yet again – taking the lion's share of the benefits of growth," the authors assert.

"We're seeing a fragmentation of the social settlement," says Professor Karel Williams, from the Centre for Research and Socio-Economic Change. "This country is a pleasant, prosperous place for some social groups, but it's a depressed hole of shuttered shops for others. What we're heading for is a two-speed UK."

Full Story: Two-speed Britain as London soars away from the rest

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