London used to be the place to which northerners fled in search of decent job opportunities. Now, the situation is completely reversed with Manchester (and its surrounding areas) becoming a haven for Londoners in search of a better quality of life.
Here are some of the reasons why Manchester is a better place to live than London.
Housing is massively more affordable
There is nothing remotely new about the fact that housing in Manchester was massively more affordable than equivalent housing in London.
What is new is that the city can now offer essentially the same opportunities and attractions as London, but at a significantly lower price point.
In fact, in some ways, Manchester arguably offers better facilities than London, especially for people who have (or want to start) families. For example, London is infamous for having a high degree of competition for nursery and school places, especially primary-school places.
Many parents there end up resorting to private education rather than taking their chances with the local-authority system (or having been disappointed by it).
It’s far easier to get where you want to go
Anyone who has ever lived in London will probably remember the pain of using the city’s public-transport system and, even with the congestion charge, getting around the London area by car is excruciatingly slow.
In spite of this, public transport in and around London is not exactly cheap, especially if you want (or need) to use the Tube/DLR/Silverlink rather than sticking to buses.
Manchester, by contrast, has some of the best public transport in the UK and road congestion is far less of an issue.
At the other end of the scale, Manchester airport already offers a wide range of flights to Europe and beyond. The expansion of the airport will increase this, with a particular focus on global destinations, especially to key economic hubs like Shanghai in China.
It’s also worth noting that Manchester has excellent digital infrastructure, which can vastly reduce your need to travel at all.
The local economy is more diverse
While it has to be acknowledged that there is genuinely far more to London than financial services, it also has to be accepted that the financial-services industry does dominate the London economy whereas in Manchester, it’s one sector among a number of others.
Manchester is a great place for start-ups
Businesses often need some time to grow before they start to pay for themselves let alone start generating a decent income for the people who run them.
This means that entrepreneurs usually need to live off income from other sources until their businesses can afford to pay them a salary/dividends.
The lower cost of living in Manchester means that it is far easier to survive these early days there than in London.
What’s more, this affordability is combined with very decent job opportunities at all levels, meaning that there is a good chance of getting part-time work to pay the bills while still having enough free time to develop your business.