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You don't need transport links to encourage employment away from london, you need employers to move away from london.
but when all of government, most of the civil service, most of the senior defence establishment, all of the finance industry is sited within a circle 10 miles in diameter, then that in itself is going to act as a magnet for everything else. No other country in the world co-sites its financial interests and government. It's like a black hole sucking in everything else.
to reverse that, they need to be drastic in encouraging as much as possible to move away, including the government (I have long believed that the UK would be in a better position if government were to move to Lancaster or Preston)
keep to the Fen Causeway
One of the magazines I work for went virtual recently. They downsized from a couple of floors to a shoebox office with a PC and some storage. The MD splits her time between HQ and home. Everyone else works from home full-time, and they stay in touch over Skype.
They've all saved a few hundred pounds a month in travel costs, and they have an extra couple of hours a day free. They're not being any less efficient or productive than they used to be, and they're still working normal office hours - but they're doing it in different locations, from home.
If anything they're working more smoothly because meetings don't waste as much time as they used to, and there's an automatic record of all conversations.
I'm amazed how few tech companies support telecommuting. There's Skype, there's Facetime, there's email, there are Wikis and blogs, but companies still seem to believe the only way to get things done is to haul everyone into a single building at the same time every morning, keep them there all day whether they're busy or not, and send them off home again at the end of the day - five times a week.
Oh, I don't doubt that it can be good for the company. But if you're not careful it produces a cubicle culture where employees don't interact with each other in any natural way.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
And I'm finding it difficult to think of anything more cubicle-ish and artificial than the usual corporate at-work interactions.
I've been working from home since 1993, and I get far more done in far less time than I've ever been able to manage in an office.
Voldemort also doesn't let us use the heating system in winter anymore.
So, yeah, I'm down with the whole work-from-home thing.
Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
I even have several regular clients I've never met F2F, though there are always 'connectors' involved i.e. trusted colleagues who recommend my work (and vice versa). These faceless clients tend to be outside Helsinki - as far away as Lapland.
The advantages to the entrepreneur are obvious: no expensive office space, little travel time and travel expenses (I DO meet clients), flexible work hours, better life quality, etc. There needs to be a greater investment in communication tech, but these days it's fairly cheap.
For clients, their 'advantage' is that they need to construct better briefs! And that means no more meetings without agendas and decisions. "We need to have another meeting to find out why we are not getting through our workload".
For society it means (or should) fewer cars on the roads, rural repopulation, profitable public transport, less pollution, support for local shops and services - and peace of mind.
The problem, of course, is that not all work is as interesting and challenging as the work you and I do. I'd do it for free - and I often do it for free for non-profit projects or to help younger colleagues get started. In corporate panoptikonia, the slave-driving hierarchy can only control workers in unsatisfying jobs by putting them in cells, and only allowing them out at night. There has to be a better way.
You can't be me, I'm taken
The only jobs that can't are the ones where physical stuff has to be warehoused and/or processed. But anything that's paper-based, phone-based or e-based is an easy win.
Some businesses are already doing it. I know a couple of people with ordinary office jobs who have been shifted out of central London properties and are now working from home.
Half the time in the Midlands, that involves travelling via London.
In the North, it's just painful to realise that Leeds to Manchester is a grand total of 36 miles and it takes roughly an hour on the train.
The final insult is the total lack of cross-London rail lines and links. There's a substantial concentration of multinational companies in the Thames Valley and the main way you get there from the North is... train to London, tube to another part of London, train out to Reading/Slough/etc.
Freight is an even bigger problem - the natural advantage of places outside the South East is space for big manufacturing enterprise. But the lack of investment in freight rail means that transport costs on ever more clogged roads just go up and up.
To be clear, up to now, none of this is really about HS2.
I do believe in some kind of HS2 project - some say other investments are a better payback, but I think that concedes too much. If we actually want to get people out of the SE, we need to do the cross-regional projects and HS2.
And it's not all about HS2 tracks - we're still waiting for direct trains to Paris/Brussels. It's 2 hrs from St Pancras to Brussels by Eurostar. In principle that's 4-5 hours from Leeds to Brussels by train. That competes with air travel and makes a business relationship with that part of Europe easier, without moving to Buckinghamshire.
Of course it would be nice if Britain were not so centralised around London, if some radical government in 1970 had made a change... but starting from where we are, some things have been moved (parts of the BBC to Salford, DWP to Leeds) - and what makes or breaks the deployment is the ease of continued access to London. If those things work, then there's the potential to get some critical mass going.
All this is predicated on the notion that the convenience of the managerial class is the defining factor. But I think that's realistic. It's never stopped being cheaper and better for access to good graduates to base a business in one of the good university cities of the North - but it's rarely happened.
But we don't - the early days of the UK internet saw a lot of activity in the M62 corridor and also in Nottingham - but as bandwidth requirements rose, the data centres drifted south...
World-class internet interconnection touches the UK in London - and basically nowhere else...
My focus is on the extremely high bandwidth infrastructure that cutting edge applications require. That's an area where government planning and investment could affect the whole business landscape.
That's an area where government planning and investment
You must be referring to another country. British government doesn't do planning and investment
keep to the Fen Causeway
But for cutting-edge hosting, there's no real need to keep a server at home. You can hire or co-locate in London and get all the usual bandwidth and benefits, with remote management. For a lot of applications it's cheaper to do that than it is to buy a custom server and pay for a spare high speed broadband line.
Industrial data centres will usually have a leased line anyway, so they're not so dependent on public broadband.
It does mean they won't be based in the Hebrides, but there's no technical reason why they can't be based in the Midlands.
I know someone who ran a dating site on a cheap PC she kept in a spare bedroom. Initially it was connected to a couple of ISDN lines.
She happened to live in London, but she could have done it anywhere.
She sold the site a few years ago for half a million.
Leeds to Manchester is a grand total of 36 miles and it takes roughly an hour on the train
For the same distance in 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway took twice that time.
Travel time halved in well-nigh two centuries. You can't stop progress, can you?
did you see the salon piece a couple of nights ago, that they've had to bring in a hobbyists diesel loco to move some freight in the north thats class was retired 30 years ago, due to unanticipated increases in freight use.
Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
It's no good being able to move the freight to within a couple of miles if you've no sidings where you can process it and no infrastructure to do so.
keep to the Fen Causeway
and spending anything up to 90 minutes each way to do it,
to reverse that, they need to be drastic in encouraging as much as possible to move away, including the government
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