Londoners are the most economically empowered, but Britain as a whole feels disenfranchised

Jasper Jolly
Follow Jasper
People in the capital believe in their proximity to power (Source: Getty)

Londoners feel the highest level of economic empowerment of any region in the UK, according to new research to be published today.

People in the capital are more likely to say they have some influence over the nation’s most powerful economic institutions than any other regions, the research from the influential RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) will show.

Some 29 per cent of Londoners think they have “a lot” or “a little” influence over government policy from the Treasury, while the same proportion think they have sway over the Bank of England.

Read more: Take back control with jury service – but for the economy – says the RSA

Citizens in the capital were also, perhaps unsurprisingly given the concentration of wealth and business, far more likely to believe they have influence over the actions of FTSE 100 chief executives than people anywhere else.

However, London’s level of empowerment is significantly higher than any other region in the UK, in findings which the RSA will say illustrate the lack of control felt by Britons. The RSA is pushing for a new so-called economic jury service which would formally involve citizens in economic decisions.

Only 22 per cent of the 2,000 British citizens surveyed think they hold any influence over central government's economic policy, although that figure falls as low as 13 per cent in the North East.

Read more: Open banking is a test of trust for financial firms

Andy Haldane, the Bank of England's chief economist, said the report showed the importance of institutions “climbing the ladder of public engagement”. He said: "We will be climbing a few more rungs in the year ahead, speaking to a wider audience than ever previously, in language more accessible than ever previously.”

Reema Patel, a co-author of the RSA report, said the findings show a “widening chasm between those who take decisions and those affected by them the most” in the context of the Brexit vote. London voted heavily to remain in the EU, while the areas with the strongest sense of disenfranchisement were more likely to have voted to leave.

Read more: Central banks must utilise tech to regain public trust

Related articles