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Winner takes all

Since "big bang," the City has boomed. But how has it been for everyone else?

By Michael Prest   December 2006

The City of London has never been a modest place. Nonetheless, the waves of self-congratulation that greeted the 20th anniversary of “big bang,” when the stock exchange’s old restrictive practices were swept away on 27th October 1986, were still a little excessive. The story that the City, especially since 1986, has become one of Britain’s great success stories, a real world leader which inspires envy among foreigners, was repeated ad nauseam. Hardly a dissenting voice was heard.

There is no question that the City is a colossus, looming over national economic life. Financial services account for 8 per cent of…

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