Working from home has seen local economies in affluent areas of England boom while also widening the gap between rich and poor, according to a new report. MailOnline has more.
Despite grand claims that homeworking would enable the UK to ‘level up’ and rebalance economic equality, WFH civil servants, GPs and office workers have continued to feather their own nests while struggling communities stagnated.
With hybrid working concentrated among London and the South East, commuter hotspots in Cambridgeshire, London, Essex and South Staffordshire have gained a ‘WFH boost’ with residents likely to increase spending within affluent communities.
London’s prosperous boroughs of Harrow, Merton and Richmond upon Thames have also seen a boost with over half of workers in Inner London (51%) and Outer London (44%) working at home in some form since early 2022.
Meanwhile, areas such as Norwich, Newcastle and Norwich are “estimated to have lost out from new WFH trends”, according to Resolution Foundation think tank.
As a result of the shift in how people work, spending is now more likely to be higher in England’s wealthy villages, lush rural areas, and countryside retreats.
But the small businesses and hospitality venues that surround now-quieter offices will be suffering as a consequence of professions’ insistence on working from home.
Significant disruption to traditional working patterns has had “knock-on effects on the spatial distribution of work and spending”, the think thank adds.
Relatively deprived local authorities in Outer London, including Brent, Haringey and Newham, have emerged from the pandemic in a “relatively weak position” – with the number of benefit claimants and those out of working increasing.
“One effect of the persistent hit to London has been to close the gap across a range of metrics between the capital and elsewhere.
“Outside of London, though, there is little evidence that these changes are reducing the gaps between rich and poor areas,” the report concludes.
Worth reading in full.
You can read the Resolution Foundation report here.