From Mr Ian Wray.

Sir, Andrew Povey argues that the south-east of England could drive the UK’s economic recovery (Letters, September 13).

It certainly did so in the 1930s, when new consumer industries grew apace in an arc between London and Birmingham, while massive private investment in housing and industry led to the creation of semi-detached Britain. And it could do so again; yet I rather doubt it will.

Despite the hidden public subsidies received in defence revenue spending, public administration, national arts and sport, the BBC, funding for top universities and teaching hospitals (and one or two banks), the south simply does not have the will to accept a 1930s-style building boom. Moreover, the government’s intention to shift planning power from regional and national government to “localism” (for which read local community groups) has sealed its fate.

London is, of course, a different matter. Unlike the rest of England, it retains a spatial strategy, a transport strategy, housing targets and a development agency, as well as powerful strategic leadership in the mayor’s office.

Ian Wray,

Birkenhead, Wirral, UK

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