Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

How To Fix 'The North'?

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%.

However......

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.
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.

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.
 
. . . it will become increasingly difficult to sell the half million quid semi - eventually there won't be buyers for it. So if you live down there, I'd be seriously tempted to GTF out before that starts to happen. Just saying.

Probably unlikely to happen. At least to houses.

London house prices have gone up by 7.5% this year. A large hike by year on year comparisons.

Detached houses have gone up the most, followed by terraced houses. I suppose semis must be somewhere in the middle.

The price of flats has gone up less because with COVID they are becoming harder to sell and sellers are having to discount heavily.

(From the FT: Subscribe to read | Financial Times )
 
Last edited:

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
Eldest son and his missus lived and worked in London for about 5 years. Couldn't wait to get out. They live near Bristol now in a house they could NEVER have afforded in London. Daughter and husband currently live in London for work but have just announced they're moving to Norn Iron (of all places) so he can go to uni in a very nice flat his mum and dad own. She'll be WFH for her firm in London, with maybe the occasional flight over to the smoke. Even with him at uni and presumably not earning (much?) for 3 years, they'll be quids in. And they won't be in the cesspit that is London.

Edit: Further to @Ravers post above, as the exodus from the south east goes on, it will become increasingly difficult to sell the half million quid semi - eventually there won't be buyers for it. So if you live down there, I'd be seriously tempted to GTF out before that starts to happen. Just saying.
And i'm sure the same things that attracted them to London in the first place will keep attracting the next generation looking for opportunities and excitement in one of the worlds true global cities. It's a competitive place that chews up and spits out those not suited to it, but that's one of the things that makes it the economic and cultural powerhouse it is. Not everyone who lives there hates the place, mostly seems to be those who went there seeking fame and fortune but found they couldn't hack it with the big boys.Plenty of people enjoy living in the SE due to the lifestyle opportunities it affords, its not just about the money!
 
Probably unlikely to happen. At least to houses.

London house prices have gone up this year by 7.5% this year. A large hike by year on year comparisons.

Detached houses have gone up the most, followed by terraced houses. I suppose semis must be somewhere in the middle.

The price of flats has gone up less because with COVID they are becoming harder to sell and sellers are having to discount heavily.

(From the FT: Subscribe to read | Financial Times )
Maybe. Depends how big the exodus is. In some of the less desirable areas would you want to risk it?
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The price of flats has gone up less because with COVID they are becoming harder to sell and sellers are having to discount heavily.

(From the FT: Subscribe to read | Financial Times )
Tell me about it.

My flat in London has lost about 150 grand in the past 3-4 years.

We’re currently trying to sell my mother in law’s flat in Chelsea. It’s been on the market for nearly two years and not a sniff.

It’s up for 200 grand less than what she paid for it.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I can see that happening for families possibly, but not with youngesters who want the excitment and social life that comes from living near/in a global city. If you're a 25 year old single professional with an active social life i'm not sure a 4 bed detached in Cumbria would be that appealing.

The young people I know who live down south, haven’t got any money to go out socialising because 90% of their wages go on rent. And very few of them actually live in London. The only places they can afford are the shitty little commuter towns near Milton Keynes or even further out to godforsaken dumps like Northampton.

When living in Watford is a sign that you’re doing well in life, you know something is very wrong.

I can get into central Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool or Glasgow in the same time it takes my sister to get into London from her house in Leighton Buzzard, once you factor in taxi to the station, tube etc.
 
Tell me about it.

My flat in London has lost about 150 grand in the past 3-4 years.

We’re currently trying to sell my mother in law’s flat in Chelsea. It’s been on the market for nearly two years and not a sniff.

It’s up for 200 grand less than what she paid for it.
Convenient Insurance Job Fires R Us? :twisted:

And with some of the more unscrupulous landlords in London, don't tell me that won't be a growth industry in future if it gets "interesting" enough down there.
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
The young people I know who live down south, haven’t got any money to go out socialising because 90% of their wages go on rent. And very few of them actually live in London. The only places they can afford are the shitty little commuter towns near Milton Keynes or even further out to godforsaken dumps like Northampton.

When living in Watford is a sign that you’re doing well in life, you know something is very wrong.

I can get into central Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool or Glasgow in the same time it takes my sister to get into London from her house in Leighton Buzzard, once you factor in taxi to the station, tube etc.
With respect Glasgow Leeds or Liverpool have got nothing to rival the south bank, covent garden, soho, or pretty much anywhere else in London for entertainment. Unless you like being cold wet and attacked by drunken chavs. People with well paid jobs and active social lives who like the hustle and bustle of city living just aren't going to move to some shitty northern dump out of choice.
 
With respect Glasgow Leeds or Liverpool have got nothing to rival the south bank, covent garden, soho, or pretty much anywhere else in London for entertainment. Unless you like being cold wet and attacked by drunken chavs. People with well paid jobs and active social lives who like the hustle and bustle of city living just aren't going to move to some shitty northern dump out of choice.
Their firms may not give them a choice. "But I'll get another job with another firm in London". How viable will that be if a tipping point comes over the horizon and jobs in London just aren't there any more?
 
With respect Glasgow Leeds or Liverpool have got nothing to rival the south bank, covent garden, soho, or pretty much anywhere else in London for entertainment. Unless you like being cold wet and attacked by drunken chavs. People with well paid jobs and active social lives who like the hustle and bustle of city living just aren't going to move to some shitty northern dump out of choice.

I can't comment on Glasgow or Liverpool (having been to neither) but Leeds is pretty close to London in terms of night life, entertainment etc. Smaller certainly, but it's not full of stunted ex-miners eating tripe and whippets.

Most of London is a cultural and social wasteland (outside of the very centre).

(And I am a Londoner).
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
With respect Glasgow Leeds or Liverpool have got nothing to rival the south bank, covent garden, soho, or pretty much anywhere else in London for entertainment. Unless you like being cold wet and attacked by drunken chavs. People with well paid jobs and active social lives who like the hustle and bustle of city living just aren't going to move to some shitty northern dump out of choice.

Agreed, but as @Civvy Scum says, a tipping point will come. All these firms spending millions a year on office space aren’t going to be there forever when they realise they can save a packet by making everyone work from home.

My company is already doing it. My department alone has got 2500 people off site with little to no ill effects to output. That is the future for the vast majority of people who are desk based.

While the nightlife might be better and is a draw for some, working from a 1 bedroom flat or a house share in London, isn’t as good as working from a 4 bedroom house in Cheshire, or a 6 bedroom house in Northumberland.

When your home becomes your workplace, having space and a nicer home suddenly becomes more important.
 
I can see that happening for families possibly, but not with youngesters who want the excitment and social life that comes from living near/in a global city. If you're a 25 year old single professional with an active social life i'm not sure a 4 bed detached in Cumbria would be that appealing.
My nephew fits that profile almost precisely. He’s 24.

He loves it when I’m in town because I buy him and his mates beer he can’t normally afford. All of them hate it not least because excitement in London these days usually involves being on the receiving end of crime. All of them are on a good wedge but it gets swallowed by rent and commuting. They’re generally too skint and too shagged to get out much.

I’m 40 minutes from Manchester by train, an hour 10 from Birmingham NEC. I’m not big on gigs these days as generally my bladder and eardrums can no longer hack it* but both venues will see all the acts that London gets at much lower price.

* The last gig I did was Sleeping Beauty at Northern Ballet. It was ace. Few beers before, good scoff after and the Mrs was up for it as she’d always wanted to go to the ballet. Just sayin’.
 
I can't comment on Glasgow or Liverpool (having been to neither) but Leeds is pretty close to London in terms of night life, entertainment etc. Smaller certainly, but it's not full of stunted ex-miners eating tripe and whippets.

Most of London is a cultural and social wasteland (outside of the very centre).

(And I am a Londoner).

Good point, I'd never thought about that.

On the other hand there was always good public transport from the suburbs to the centre - and more important back again late at night. No idea what it's like nowadays.
 
I can't comment on Glasgow or Liverpool (having been to neither) but Leeds is pretty close to London in terms of night life, entertainment etc. Smaller certainly, but it's not full of stunted ex-miners eating tripe and whippets.

Most of London is a cultural and social wasteland (outside of the very centre).

(And I am a Londoner).

Leeds is belting these days. Had a night stop there last year mid week and thought I’d have a proper grim night. Didn’t get back to the hotel until 0500.

Newcastle is the same but generally only at weekends.
 
Agreed, but as @Civvy Scum says, a tipping point will come. All these firms spending millions a year on office space aren’t going to be there forever when they realise they can save a packet by making everyone work from home.

My company is already doing it. My department alone has got 2500 people off site with little to no ill effects to output. That is the future for the vast majority of people who are desk based.

While the nightlife might be better and is a draw for some, working from a 1 bedroom flat or a house share in London, isn’t as good as working from a 4 bedroom house in Cheshire, or a 6 bedroom house in Northumberland.

When your home becomes your workplace, having space and a nicer home suddenly becomes more important.
Which takes us back to the point I made pages back.

couldn’t agree more
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
In terms of nightlife, I would also argue that the vast majority of people in the south east don’t actually live anywhere near Soho, or the south bank or Covent Garden.

They live in shitty little commuter towns like Bromley and Aylesbury where the nightlife is dog shit.

A night out in Liverpool, the Toon or Manchester beats Hemel Hempstead any day of the week.
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
Their firms may not give them a choice. "But I'll get another job with another firm in London". How viable will that be if a tipping point comes over the horizon and jobs in London just aren't there any more?
People don't just go to London because jobs are there, companies also have offices there because that's where the people with the skills they require are, and the companies that can support them. You can decamp to the middle of Northumbria if you want and fill the lower level support roles but you might find the star players don't want to go. And there are far more openings than star players.
 
Good point, I'd never thought about that.

On the other hand there was always good public transport from the suburbs to the centre - and more important back again late at night. No idea what it's like nowadays.

Much better than it was.
 

cowgoesmoo

Old-Salt
Agreed, but as @Civvy Scum says, a tipping point will come. All these firms spending millions a year on office space aren’t going to be there forever when they realise they can save a packet by making everyone work from home.

My company is already doing it. My department alone has got 2500 people off site with little to no ill effects to output. That is the future for the vast majority of people who are desk based.

While the nightlife might be better and is a draw for some, working from a 1 bedroom flat or a house share in London, isn’t as good as working from a 4 bedroom house in Cheshire, or a 6 bedroom house in Northumberland.

When your home becomes your workplace, having space and a nicer home suddenly becomes more important.
And save even more when they realise they don't need to pay London rates any more, and the 4 bed house in Cheshire becomes a 2-bed semi as 30% comes off the salary in the next job offer..

I think its a bit naive to think companies will continue to pay top rates when people wfh from the rest of the country. Facebook and other tech companies have started doing it to remote employees who move out of Silicon Valley:

 
In terms of nightlife, I would also argue that the vast majority of people in the south east don’t actually live anywhere near Soho, or the south bank or Covent Garden.

They live in shitty little commuter towns like Bromley and Aylesbury where the nightlife is dog shit.

A night out in Liverpool, the Toon or Manchester beats Hemel Hempstead any day of the week.
Shudder.

I end up in Luton more often than is good for any man. I’ve tried every bloody town between Kentish Town and Bedford on that wretched rail link and every single one is beyond pants. Overpriced, dead pubs, shitty restaurants that you’re the only one in and the few locals that are out are miserable chippy c%nts buried in the Evening Standard crossword. I’m actually at the point now of taking scran and ale with me and sitting in my hotel room smashing it and praying for the earth to spin faster so the morning comes quicker and I can do something more exciting like sitting in a dull meeting with irrelevant people.

Hell will be any London commuter town you care to mention.
 

Latest Threads

Top