Professionals living in Britain’s provincial cities should commute to London for “a day or two a week” to earn more money, and stop being jealous of the capital’s economic success, a former Conservative minister has suggested.
In echoes of Norman Tebbit’s infamous “get on your bike” remarks in the 1980s, John Redwood told a meeting of council leaders that people living in Britain’s smaller cities should not fight against the dominance of London but be prepared to travel to take advantage of it.
“I’m one of the few that goes around to the rest of England and says, ‘It is good news that our capital city is so colossally successful – so don’t fight it, work with it”, he told a New Local Government Network debate. “When I last met a load of business people in Liverpool … those who were earning the most were doing a day or two days a week in London… That is exactly how you should harness the mighty capital with this phenomenal economic success.”
Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, said Mr Redwood’s remarks showed “how out of touch these Tories are”. He added: “We hear all these empty promises about how they want to help the North, but they really don’t understand people up here at all.”