The Crisis of London by Andy Thornley

By Andy Thornley

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Many companies are already stretched, some are overstretched, and a substantial collapse of the property market would have a devastating effect on London’s money markets and the attitude of many overseas institutions, which are often the same firms that have lent the money to create the oversupply. There are signs that, after many years of authors predicting just such a development, companies are finally taking the advantages offered by new technologies and moving out of London. Relocations of the ‘back office’ functions of insurance companies date back to the 1960s.

Ball, M. (1983) Housing Policy and Economic Power, London, Methuen. (1986) Home Ownership: A Suitable Case for Reform, London, Shelter. Brownill, S. (1990) Developing London’s Docklands, London, Paul Chapman. , Jones, C. and Merrett, S. (1990) Housing London: Issues of Finance and Supply, York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Crane, H. (1990) Speaking from Experience; Working With Homeless Families, London, Bayswater Hotel Homelessness Project. Conway, J. and Kemp, P. (1985) Bed and Breakfast; Slum Housing of the Eighties, London, SHAC.

London Underground spent £145m. installing the Underground Ticketing System, a system of ticket automation with universally unpopular automatic ticket barriers. Such barriers would be redundant under a European-type ticketing system. Further money has had to be spent since, to alter the barriers so that they do effectively lock open in case of emergency. London Underground and British Rail’s response to heightened passenger concerns about security (sexual assaults in 1990 increased 61 per cent on British Rail and 41 per cent on the Underground (British Transport Police 1990)) at unstaffed or understaffed stations and on trains, has been the ‘technical fix’ of the video monitor; without the staff to monitor and to act on what they see, it is useless.

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