Most popular ▴ See a list of all my posts! The experts got it wrong. Why are there no great Windows 10 apps? How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Gender bias calculator The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Innovation on buses. Heathrow

PDFs and Data ▾ Global open data and PDFs. Improving PDFs for Science. Improving PDFs for Planners. PDFAttacher. A Clearer Plan Hybrid PDFs PDF test-off. PDF Profiler Making PDFs play nicely with data

Housing ▾ Counting households. 1. Counting households. 2. The housing market works (where we let it) Hexmaps Adonis is wrong on housing Car free Birmingham

Regional Growth ▾ Measuring tech in the UK and France in 10 steps. Defending the Zombie graph. Channel 4 must move to Mancheseter Measuring innovation 1: meetups Measuring innovation 2: scientific papers. The UK city-size abnormality. Cities not cheese: why France is productive. How moving the Capital helps Hartlepool. Industrial Strategy. Leeds Growth Strategy 5: Limits. Leeds Growth Strategy 4: Focus. Leeds Growth Strategy 3: Inclusive growth. Leeds Growth Strategy 2: Where to grow? Leeds Growth Strategy 1: Why grow? Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Inclusive growth. The BBC in Manchester 1 The BBC in Manchester 2 What works (growth) North-South divide: we never tried Imitating Manchester Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Researching research Replacing UK steel The Economist & The North The State of the North, 2015 Move the Lords! Calderdale Digital Strategy Maths of inequality Income by MSOA Heathrow and localism The NorthernPowerhouse Centralism and Santa Claus Yorkshire backwards London makes us poor

Transport ▾ Crossrail 2: Where trust in experts dies. Pacers: crap trains, worth keeping. A Yorkshire transport policy. Stop telling me to learn from London. Fixing it ourselves: bus data in the North. Open fare data will be hard. Transport is too complex! Investment is political London loses when it blocks Leeds' growth The Centre of the UK Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map What works (growth) The Value of Time Innovation on buses. Heathrow 1975 WYMetro Plan

Politics & Economics ▾ GDP measures are like toilets. The UK's private postcodes restrict innovation. Yorkshire could learn from Ireland's success. Alternatives to GDP are a waste of time. Fiscal balance in the UK "Not like London" Innovation takes time to measure Fifa and the right In defence of the € GDP mystery Liberal protectionists 5 types of EU voter Asylum responsibilities STEM vs STEAM The Economist & Scotland BBC Bias? Northern rail consultation What holds us back? Saving the Union Summing it up

Positive ▾ Bike Lights Playful Everywhere Greggs vs. Pret Guardian comment generator Consult less, do more! More things for Leeds! Cartoons PubQuest: Birmingham

Tech ▾ What's holding back opendata in the UK? Anti-trust law saved computing 1 Anti-trust law saved computing 2 Open Data Camp Cardiff Why are there no great Windows 10 apps? Tap to pay. Open Data in Birmingham Defending Uber BusTracker Train time map Building a TechNation How the UK holds back TechNorth GDS is Windows 8 OpenData at the BBC SimFlood SimSponge See me speak Digital Health Leeds Empties Leeds Site Allocations Building a Chrome extension I hate webkit Visualising mental health Microsoft's 5 easy wins Epson px700w reset Stay inside the Bubble

Old/incomplete ▾ Orange price rises The future of University Cherish our Capital Dealing with NIMBYs Sponsoring the tube Gender bias calculator MetNetMaker Malaria PhD Symbian Loops Zwack Kegg Project The EU Eduroam & Windows 8 Where is science vital? The Vomcano 10 things London can shove Holbeck Waterwheel

Last modified: 21 January 2014

Dr. Adonis is wrong.

Radical state action is the answer to Britain’s housing crisis wrote Andrew Adonis yesterday. He went on to mention London five times. Not once did he refer to another city of the United Kingdom.

Dr. Adonis went to school near Oxford. He did his degree in Oxford. He did his Doctorate in Oxford. He took a fellowship in Oxford. And then he moved to London. His education should have taught him what his experiences could not, that London is a small part of Britain and not the whole of it.

The first sentence of the article pronounced that "the heart of Britain’s housing and growth crisis is the failure to build anywhere near enough homes...". In London and the South-East of England that is undoubtedly true. We must urgently start building more and better homes in and around London. But what about in the majority of Britain, away from the small corner that Dr. Adonis has always called home?

Is the failure to build enough homes at the heart of the growth crisis affecting Swansea, Middlesbrough, and Blackpool? Is a lack of new homes the top priority in the more succesful cities of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and Newcastle?

No, it is not.

In Leeds and Bradford good quality family homes can be bought for less than £100k and excellent city-centre offices like mine can be rented for less than £100 per person per month. In Leeds and Bradford, land and planning permission is widely available for more homes, offices, and shops. The problems that afflict the world Andrew Adonis knows are not the ones that affect us most severely.

The heart of the growth crisis in Leeds is a failure to generate enough demand, not a failure to build. Roads and trains are more congested than in London and competing bus companies provide an incomprehensible, infrequent, unreliable, painfully slow, and expensive service. The city's provisions for cycling are rudimentary and the city remains the largest in Europe without a public transport system. A rapidly growing airport within sight of two train lines remains disconnected. The overcrowded train to Manchester Airport takes over an hour and a quarter to travel just over 40 miles.

Politicians like Dr. Adonis have for nearly a century sat in London offices and diminished, obstructed and cancelled plans to connect Leeds with itself and with its neighbours. Potential agglomeration dividends are squandered everyday and agglomeration benefits within the region and beyond it to nearby Manchester and Sheffield remain unrealised.

In the city which last year celebrated the centenary of its nobel-prize winning invention of X-ray crystallography, and this year hosts the Tour de France's Grand Départ, government investment in science and technology and transport infrastructure is pitifully small compared to the overheating South-East. Investment in arts and culture that would feed into and stimulate the region's strong creative industries are similarly pathetic.

A government getting to the heart of this growth crisis would invest more heavily in Leeds and Manchester where planning restrictions are loose than it does in London where opposition to expansion is high. A government getting to the heart of this growth crisis would push as hard to improve education in West Yorkshire as it did with the London challenge. It would spend the same per head improving the public amenities in West Yorkshire as it did sprucing up the capital for its Olympics.

Instead this government, like Dr. Adonis' before, has taken the North for granted. Even at the moment of this City's greatest modern triumph the government in London tried to sabotage our succesful bid for the Tour de France's Grand Départ and claim it for England.

Are you convinced?

If not, I offer a last piece of evidence. London may be productive, but it is 1.5 to 2 times as productive as Leeds and Bradford at most. Yet London's homes are 3-4 times as expensive as their equivalents in Leeds and Bradford. The facts do not support Dr. Adonis's claims. What he should have said is that the heart of London’s housing and growth crisis is the failure to build anywhere near enough homes...

The heart of Leeds' problems — in common with much more of Britain — lies elsewhere.