Living in Birmingham, spending money in London

Various Stop HS2 supporters went to Monday’s debate in Birmingham organised by Birmingham Friends of the Earth and Sustainability West Midlands.

One of the comments from the audience was about people using HS2 to commute to work in London, and spending the money they earned in London on businesses in Birmingham.

The thing is though, people spend money where they earn it as well as where they live.

Sure, the commuter will buy a house near the station (with their London wage, pushing up house prices near the station, and making it harder for Birmingham-based workers to buy houses there).

They will probably furnish the house, and buy carpets and curtains locally – but most people only buy these things once every few years.

However, many of their daily purchases will be in London.  They will buy lunch in London.  They will go shopping in their lunchbreak, buying clothes, and books and the latest technological gizmo from London shops.

They will do their after-work socialising in London, buying drinks in London pubs and meals out in London restaurants.

They will go to the many theatres and cinemas in London. There are good theatres and concert venues in Birmingham, but there are many more in London.  Their friends and partners will take the short trip on HS2 to join them in London rather then meeting them in Birmingham.

Are these ideas unrealistic?

Well read what one Midlands based supporter of HS2, Andy Coyne, wrote last year at the end of an article about the effects of HS2:

“I’m even fantasising about Friday nights spent drinking in Islington and eating curry in Brick Lane!”

8 comments to “Living in Birmingham, spending money in London”
  1. John, I too live in Birmingham and it is far from a “slum”, I suggest you have a good look around! It has come a long way in the 25 years that I have lived here, but if we send all of our good people to London to work and spend their money, we won’t see any more improvements here.

    On a positive note, it is good see the nice gentleman from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce firmly supporting the Stop HS2 movement, I don’t think that is his intention, but every time he goes on TV to support HS2 he says the daftest things, we need more like him…. “It will make Birmingham Airport functional”, “London Solicitors will be able to open up firms in Birmingham because they will only have to pay two thirds of the wages”, “It will open up our Universities”… the man is a legend! As far as I see every day, being on the flight path, Birmingham Airport is already functional, Birmingham Solicitors will just go and work in London for an extra third on top of their current salaries and if I am not mistaken, our Universities are already open and doing well enough to demand a £9,000 per year tuition fee…

  2. Ian, have you ever been to Birmingham? I’ve lived here all my life and the place is a slum. I only wish I had the means to escape this depressing city. And you believe people would voluntarily come to visit, perhaps have a picnic with the family in the worst parts of the city? People will spend money in London, which means Birmingham will get poorer and worse than it is now. Get real!!!

    • There are depressing areas in all cities John……..and surely HS2 would actually put London in commuter belt for the average brummie?? Access to higher paid jobs etc etc ……

  3. What a lot of old rubbish; really! What about people travelling to Birmingham from London for the day, weekend or whatever? Strangely enough, the trains will go in both directions, as will the travellers.

    • Hmmn – I might take a day trip to London to see Natural History Museum, Oxford Road, South Bank, Trafalgar Square, Tower of London, etc etc. Folk the other way take a trip to Birmingham to take a mother’s day present they bought in London.

      I’ve nothing against Birmingham or Manchester (lived in both places) but to suggest that they compare to one of the great world cities is not convincing.


    Keep spinning, Penny: eventually it’ll fall,- one way or the other. Heads or tails?

    Keep pedalling! Don’t stop.

  5. Villages lost their shops when people travelled to town to work, now towns are losing their shops as people travel to cities. It will be interesting what happens to cities when people travel to bigger cities

  6. Oh, please grow up. This is about economic growth and rescuing the north’s economy . Do not get conned by rich nimbys

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