London ‘could be city state by 2035’

LONDON could become a city state like Singapore by 2035 because of its economic dominance over the rest of Britain, according to a senior figure at Brown Shipley.

Singapore's spectacular skyline by night

Kevin Doran, Brown Shipley’s chief investment officer, said that Leeds or Manchester could become the UK’s new capital if London decides to go it alone.

Mr Doran made the comments during a seminar in Leeds which outlined investment themes for 2015. During the seminar, Mr Doran expressed concerns that there will be more “global tribalism” in response to volatile economic conditions next year. In the longer term, he believes London could vote to become an autonomous city state by 2035 or 2040.

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He told The Yorkshire Post: “If you look at the history of city states, what tends to happen is that part of the world will have an economic advantage.

Singapore's spectacular skyline by night

“As a result of that economic advantage, it invites migrants, for want of a better expression, who are not necessarily associated with that place. Those richer migrants displace the original population outside the city walls, until you get to such a point where the place loses that identity.

“Then on top of that, they say, ‘We’re subsidising these people who are living outside the city walls. Why don’t we stop that subsidisation?’

“If you see what’s happening in London at the moment, and have a look at London property prices, it’s driven in a large part by Russian and Chinese investors who are coming to the UK bringing up the cost of properties and in doing so, they force out the domestic population, effectively outside the M25. A lot of people have to commute in and out of the city.

“Within 20 to 30 years time, you’ll have a situation where people will have a look at these subsidies that they provide to the rest of the UK, they will hold a referendum on taking themselves out of the UK, and away they go.”

If London became independent, it could lead to opportunities for places like Yorkshire, Mr Doran added.

“I suppose you can make a bid to become the new capital of the UK, he said. “Leeds as the capital of the UK - you can see the headlines now. It’s not dissimilar to the situation we had in Scotland. It’s about re-addressing the subsidies.

“I wouldn’t worry about London becoming a city state. All it means is we will take economic powers back to the UK.

“It’s part of this ongoing devolution argument. Whether it’s Leeds, whether it’s Manchester.. we’re all in the running.”

Brown Shipley, which has an office in Leeds, provides wealth management services for high net worth clients.

Labour and the SNP are the “most likely bedfellows” for a coalition Government after next year’s General Election, according to Mr Doran.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “One thing you can guarantee is you’re looking at a coalition government..given the dynamics of the Scottish national vote and the implication of the split in the Conservative vote into the typical Tory vote and UKIP. Via our first past the post system, we’re looking at the SNP taking perhaps as many as 40 seats in Scotland.”

As a result, Mr Doran said we could expect to see a “more Socialist bias” in economic policies.