London gets more than its fair share of public spending, say most Britons

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
February 08, 2019, 12:00 AM GMT+0

Only one in five Londoners agree

It’s a common complaint across the land that public funding is lavished on London like nowhere else.

Now that many parts of the country have their own elected mayors it’s more common to see hard statistics on this, as campaigning politicians make the case for more equitable distribution.

But it’s no quite so simple. According to the ONS, London’s economy provided a £26.5bn surplus in 2015/16 – simply put, the city raised more money in tax than was spent on it.

Nevertheless, a YouGov Profiles survey of more than 35,000 Britons, conducted in the summer of 2017 but released for the first time, finds that 60% of people believe London gets more than its fair share of public spending.

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This includes 70% of Scots, 73% of Welsh people and 58% of English people as a whole – but only 21% of Londoners.

In fact, while in every other part of Britain people were most likely to think that London gets more than its fair share, in the capital itself the most common perception is that the city gets near enough its fair share. Around one in three Londoners (35%) hold this view. A further 18% of Londoners believe that their home city is getting less than it deserves.

Overall, only 16% of Brits think London gets about what it deserves from the public purse. Just 4% think they get less than is fair, while the remaining 21% answered “don’t know”.

Cumbrians are the most likely to think that London’s share of the public spending pie is too big, at 87%.

Aside from Londoners themselves, people in neighbouring Hertfordshire and Surrey are the most likely to think that London is getting a roughly equitable portion of public money, at 35% and 30% respectively.

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