Data collated by the Centre for Cities suggests that 31% of jobs in UK cities are in London. If you’ve grown up here, it’s easy to think that’s pretty normal. Capitals tend to be the centre of things. But in the other big European countries (in terms of population) different cities are known for different things.
In Germany, Berlin has politics, Frankfurt has finance, Hamburg has science and education, Munich has beer. And, when you look at the job distribution across the five largest cities in the UK and Germany, Germany’s looks much healthier, with the capital not sucking in that many more jobs than the other big cities. Meanwhile, London has almost twice as many as the rest of the top 5 put together.
While there are a lot of explanations for London’s national dominance – from its world city status to the strictures of Roman roads – thinking about it in parallel with other capitals helps to show this isn’t an inevitable situation.
Spain’s two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, are far bigger than numbers 3 to 5, but at least the job hubs are split between the two.
The only big European country that has an equivalent imbalance is France, where Paris dwarfs the rest of the top five. Unsurprisingly, Paris is also suffering a housing crisis.
Many have written recently that Brexit could be a chance to restructure the UK’s economy. Perhaps leaving Europe could be a chance to become a bit more like a European country.
Source: Centre for Cities