Vince Cable is wrong - London's growth is win-win

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Vince Cable said that London "is becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country." The business secretary was discussing the possible expansion of London's Heathrow airport.

He added that the country needed to make more use of provincial airports to provide balance to the UK economy.

Its embarrassing for such an attack on the UK's centre of wealth creation to come from the secretary of state for business.

It should not be a mystery to the business secretary that expanding airport capacity in and around London is the most attractive prospect for investors.

London is the world's leading financial centre and economic output per person employed in the capital is roughly double that of UK average. London may well be the entrance point for many international investors but it is far from the final destination.

As to the claim that London is akin to an economic vampire sucking the life out of the rest of the country, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from sucking the life out of the regions, London is keeping many of them on life support. If London were to secede and become a city-state, it would be running the sixth largest current account surplus of any wealthy nation. The rest of the UK meanwhile would be running the largest deficit.

One in every five pounds earned by Londoners is spent in other UK regions, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). London provides a net subsidy of 20.3 per cent of GDP to the regions. The biggest beneficiaries of London's taxes are Northern Ireland, Wales and the Northeast.

This is not trickle down economics - this is Niagara falls economics.

The regions have not been stagnant because London is booming. The rest of the UK has failed to keep up with London due to a lack of competitiveness.

The business secretary should not be so pessimistic when it comes to growth outside London.

While the capital has been doing much of the heavy lifting in terms of UK growth, many of the regions have increasingly been pulling their own weight.

Lloyd's October regional purchasing managers' index (PMI) reported the fastest increase in business activity seen since the survey began in 2001. Five of England's nine regions saw the most rapid growth in new business for over 10 years.