|Rich old London can take care of itself. Really?|
Added to that I am beside myself with the growing anti-London rhetoric that seems to be all around me. Like so-called benefit cheats, London seems to be an easy target: bloated, rich and cushioned by City fat cats. Really? London receives and finds homes for over 50% of the UK's immigrants with boroughs such as Lambeth, turning over a similar percentage each and every year in their population as the transitory nature of immigration makes its mark. Much of London, including Tower Hamlets, Tottenham and Dagenham, has as high deprivation as anywhere in Europe. Unemployment is growing faster in London, particularly in the young, than anywhere in the UK. Londoners are not the City boys in Canary Wharf, the corporate Americans in Notting Hill or even the cabbies who have for the most part moved to Kent and Essex, they are the cleaners from Catford, the unemployed factory workers in Silvertown, the often unpaid techies in Shoreditch or the care workers in Croydon, one of whom sent me an email last night that told me she earns £14k even with a postgrad in Clinical Psychology.
The London Government Office is the only one for a region that has actually closed, and our RDA has shrunk faster and further than any other region. This, coupled with the effects of Government initiatives like the Regional Growth Fund, which made it clear that funding increases only as you get further from London, and we are in trouble. But apparently London's corporate crew will reach out and salve the growing social crisis. Well, on behalf of the social enterprise community I stand and wait. And I am waiting. And it's making me so cross that relaxation, like peace of mind, seems out of reach. Quiet isn't it? That's the sound of London taking care of its own.