A lot will change but, be careful what you wish for (not you specifically, just the UK generally.) What will all of those Southerners moving into areas do for house prices and will locals be able to live there? See Cornwall for examples.I haven’t read the whole thread but this is a subject area that I’m currently working on.
The company I work for is the biggest employer in my region by quite a long way. As such whatever we do has a pretty big socio-economic impact on the local area. With the closure of the pits, there isn’t much else going on unless you’re a farmer or you work in tourism.
If we make redundancies, it has a massive effect on the local area. Likewise, we are a massive drain on other sectors up here, like teaching and the NHS. Why be a teacher on 28 grand a year when you can work where I am and earn double that?
As such the schools are shit and local services are very badly effected.
To offset this, we invest a lot of money in the local economy. We back new ventures and startups, sponsor local sports teams and send high performing individuals on secondments to smaller companies for free.
For the past few years we have started to really look at what the future holds locally. Our business won’t be around forever. When we start to ramp down and inevitably shrink, we don’t want the local area to implode through lack of jobs and money.
This is why we’re so big in helping other businesses expand, so they can mature and start bringing something to the party too. The idea is, when we shrink to 10% of our current size, there will be a thriving hub and Center of excellence locally that will pick up the other 90%.
Covid has changed everything. No one envisaged the big remote working revolution to happen for at least another decade or two. But it’s happening now. Everyone is realising they can work from home. Businesses have realised they don’t need to waste money on running expensive offices. As this revolution takes hold, the southeastcentric country we live in will change. People only live down there because it’s close to where they work.
No one actually chooses to live in Luton or Slough because it’s a nice place.
Suddenly you’ve got a ton of people who no longer need to get the tube into central London everyday. This means they can move further away, to places they actually want to live, instead of places that are close to where they work.
All these mugs who currently live in half a million quid semis in the Home Counties, are gonna up sticks and buy mansions up here, or in the West Country or Wales. Why wouldn’t you? The south is an overcrowded shit hole where English is the second language.
By way of example my sister and her husband live in a tiny 2 bed house in Leighton Buzzard, with shitty neighbours and a gypsy camp a mile or two down the road. Rent is around a grand a month. They both work locally and their choice to live there is entirely dictated by the fact it’s convenient for commuting.
Since Covid they‘re both able to work from home. There is no real logical reason for them to live there anymore, paying extortionate rent, for a shoebox. A grand a month up here gets you 4 - 5 bedrooms and maybe some farmland. It gets you fresh air, space, low crime rates, cheaper insurance, nicer people, a better way of life.
It’s only a matter of time before they, and millions of others in the same situation, abandon the south.
I’ve got mates in their 30s, earning decent money but living in house shares with random strangers because it’s the only way they can afford to live down there. People on 80k a year having to write their name on their milk so their housemates don’t nick it.
All these beauty spots and rural areas will become the preferred places to live. Everyone who can work remotely will start to migrate away from the South East. With them the service industries will follow. More restaurants and pubs and shops to look after these remote workers. There will be a natural spread to the countryside and things will even out.
It will take time, but it will happen.
What will happen to London when we don't need all of that office space? How much money/profit is there in converting to housing as property prices drop due to everyone deciding to up sticks?
It would be really, really good IMO to have a cross party committee, made up of MPs from regions and nations to see if they can plot a way forward which minimises disruption to the economy. A general plan to guide whichever party is in power. Not going to happen of course.