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Wealth in London and Britain

Paved with gold?

London has often been a byword for wealth in provincial England—which is why we remember Dick Whittington not just for his cat but for London’s supposed “streets of gold.” But how true is this?

With so much trade and finance centred in London, property prices have always been higher, and—when so much wealth is tied up in bricks and mortar—that means there is indeed a wealth gap between London and the rest of the country. In the average wealth figures, this spills over into the capital’s southeastern hinterland, where a somewhat older population has had more time to build up more wealth.

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In Prospect's November issue: Paul Collier explains how major cities in the UK will always be in the shadow of London unless capitalism is overhauled and suggests ways that we might be able to improve the situation in those communities that capitalism has left behind. Meanwhile, Steve Bloomfield asks what is going at the Foreign Office. The once great institution that was a symbol of Britain’s global power now seems to be lost and unable to explains its role. Also, Samira Shackle explores a Pakistani protest movement that is unnerving the country’s military. Elsewhere in the issue: Dahlia Lithwick suggests that the Supreme Court will struggle to retain its authority now that Brett Kavanaugh is on the bench. Philip Ball argues that DNA doesn’t define destiny as he reviews a new book by Robert Plomin. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Simon Heffer debate political correctness.