Matthew Steeples expresses lament for London’s post-coronavirus future – here is a city that faces an exodus and recession
This morning in The Guardian, Emma Brockes – a “British writer in New York” according to her Twitter handle – penned an article about how that city is “going back to the 1970s” as a “long overdue correction to the ravaging effect of high finance.”
Her fascinating analysis of how the “post-Covid hotspot” is set to lose its middle classes and “become more dangerous,” could also be applied to London.
Aside from families releasing that they desire outside space rather than cramped flats in the pandemic, the exodus to the suburbs and beyond is most definitely occurring. Property prices are rising in more rural areas and workers will commute less and less.
The new era ahead involves working from home and the consequences were explained to me recently by a city restaurateur. When allowed, he reopened for a week – but hardly anybody came. He found the city empty of his usual regulars, closed his doors and will try again in September.
Sandwich shops such as Pret have seen a sharp decline in revenue and tailors are suffering as well. People no longer need a Savile Row suit and instead wear their shorts or dressing gowns whilst they work. Many shops have closed – some would have closed anyway given the high street was already failing – and stabbings have sadly dramatically risen.
Dick Whittington famously fictionally arrived in London expecting the streets to be paved with gold. He initially found to the contrary and ended up cold and hungry and now many will find the same. With an expected second wave of coronavirus this winter and the worst recession in history underway, London needs to wake up and smell the coffee.